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Teens have misconceptions about safe sex

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MENLO PARK, Calif., Jul 06, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Many U.S. teens hold misconceptions about safe sex practices because nearly eight in 10 teen pregnancies are unintentional, a survey has shown.

The Kaiser Family Foundation and Seventeen magazine conducted a nationwide survey finding a gap between what teens ages 15 to 17 think they know about birth control and protection and the reality of those subjects.

The study found three-fourths of surveyed teens had heard of birth control pills, but more than 25 percent did not know the pills fail to protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Also, six in 10 of the teens had heard of emergency contraception -- which can only prevent pregnancies from occurring -- but more than one in four responded incorrectly that they cause an abortion.

There also seems to be considerable confusion about new protection methods -- such as Ortho Evra, and the Nuvaring -- with nearly one in five teens saying these products do not provide sufficient protection compared to the more-trusted oral contraceptives. The teens' knowledge about condoms seemed to be more complete, however, the survey reported.

Approximately half of sexually active teens will contract a STD by age 25, the researchers said.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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