World Contraception Day: Are You Practicing Safe Sex?

More teens are having safe sex, but STDs are on the rise among adults

Happy no unplanned babies day!

Today is World Contraception Day, a day that aims to raise awareness about birth control options, and enable young people to make informed decisions on sexual and reproductive health in order to make sure all pregnancies are wanted.

In honor of the day, here are some stats that should help you remember to wrap things up in the bedroom:

According to the American Pregnancy Association, there are 6 million pregnancies a year in the U.S. -- 47 percent of which are unintended.

Only 64 percent of sexually active women use contraceptives -- surprising, when you consider that 68 million Americans are living with an STD. And, each year, three million teens acquire an STD.

The good news is, safe sex among teens is on the rise. According to a national sex survey earlier this year, among sexually active 14- to 17-year-olds, 80 percent of boys and 69 percent of girls used a condom the last time they had sex.

In fact, it’s the parents who need to take a lesson from their kids. Adults over the age of 40 have the lowest rates of condom use, according to the survey, published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Perhaps that explains why STDs are soaring among the AARP set. And men who pop Viagra are twice as likely to contract a venereal disease as seniors who don’t. Just because you can’t get your lady friend pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t get an STD, grandpa! See what happens when you grow up without sex education in school?

Though talking about sex in schools is still controversial, some might argue such dialogue is helping teens make smarter choices about their sex lives. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the number of sexually active 15- to 17-year-olds has fallen from 38 percent to 28 percent since 1995.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

While 93 percent of teenagers report that they’ve received formal instruction on STDs or abstinence, only one-third of them have been schooled in contraceptives. So the fact that 41 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds report that they know little or nothing about condoms should really come as no surprise. The United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world -- more than twice that of Canada or Sweden.

Want to find a new birth control method for you, your daughter or your mom? Check out iVillage’s Age by Age Birth Control Gallery. Maybe contraceptives take the spontaneity out of sex but, then again, so do unplanned pregnancies and STDs. I don’t think we have to ask you which you’d rather deal with.

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