June 25, 2013

Guam teens practicing unsafe sex at high rate

6-25-2013 Guam:

In 2011, nearly half of Guam's high school students had had sex at least once in their lives.

That's according to a national study conducted regularly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the "Youth Risk Behavior Survey."

Of those students who were sexually active at the time of the survey, only 32 percent had used condoms with their last sexual partner. Ten percent of sexually active students used other forms of birth control, such as the birth control pill.

The rate of teen sex on Guam has increased during the past decade, as well as the number of youth who choose to have unprotected sex.

Health educators and guidance counselors at the island's schools received training last week as part of a new program funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The goal is to decrease the number of sexually active high-schoolers by teaching students how to make positive choices.

Francis Ballares, school counselor at John F. Kennedy High School, said he thinks more people should be aware of how dramatic Guam's statistics are with respect to risky behavior in teens, including the high rate of dangerous sexual activity.

"We're not educating our kids or getting them to practice better choices," Ballares said.

There are programs in the community, like Island Girl Power, that teach young girls about the risks associated with risky sexual behavior. The nonprofit organization also hosts and organizes events and courses that teach young girls life skills, from cooking to carpentry, and encourages members to participate in healthy and educational community activities.
Risky behavior

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey for Guam shows that Guam students engage in a high rate of risky sexual behavior.

Guam's students are less likely than the rest of the nation to use condoms or birth control, even though they're more likely to have been taught about ways to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

And, compared to students elsewhere in the nation, Guam students are, for the most part, sober when they engage in risky behavior, according to the study.

About 18 percent of Guam's sexually active students stated they drank alcohol or used drugs before their last sexual intercourse, which is less than the national average. ...continued here... by Dance Aoki

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