Most of the stories I blog about here regarding sex (and sexually-transmitted infections) have bad news to offer. People are still poorly educated about STDs, or worse, actively misinform to try to scare people away from sex. Admittedly, good news about sexual issues are few and far between, but there actually have been a few positive stories in the news recently:
In the first article, the good news is that rates of sexual activity in teenagers have decreased a bit since 1991:
Some 46.8 percent of students said they engaged in sexual intercourse in a 2005 survey, down from 54.1 percent in 1991, according to the report.
Some 14.3 percent of students in 2005 said they have had multiple partners, defined as sex with four different people during one’s lifetime. That figure is down from 18.7 percent in 1991.
And, for those who were having sex, condom use was up:
At the same time, the number of students who say they used a condom the last time they had intercourse rose to 62.8 percent in 2005 from 46.2 percent in 1991, the survey said.
Still, not to be a wet blanket, but there’s still a way to go. A story out just a few weeks prior noted that teens still aren’t using condoms regularly:
Over half, or 53 percent, of teen boys, say they don’t always use a condom. Among girls, about two-thirds say a condom isn’t always used.
And, while about 1in 4 sexually active teenagers still contracts a sexually-transmitted infection each year, there’s even some good news on that front: herpes cases have declined.
The new study shows a 19 percent drop since 1994 in the percentage of Americans ages 14 to 49 testing positive for herpes type 2, the most common cause of the recurring painful sores of genital herpes. The declines were especially pronounced among young people.
And again, while this is encouraging, there’s no cause for celebration yet:
But herpes is still uncomfortably common. Despite the decline, blood tests of more than 11,000 people found 11 percent of men and 23 percent of women carry the genital herpes, or type 2, virus. Among people in their 20s, the infection rate was almost 11 percent.
Additionally, significant declines haven’t been seen in all groups:
Dr. Kenneth Fife of the Indiana University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, noted that rates of infection are still disproportionately high among women and blacks. The study found 42 percent of blacks tested positive for herpes type 2, a decline of only 4 percent since 1994.
Still, any good news is welcome when it comes to STDs; these types of stories are, unfortunately, all too rare.