The Younger A Child Starts Having Sex, The Higher Their Risk Of STIs

By Kathryn Doyle

(Reuters Health) – For adolescents, earlier age of sexual initiation is tied to a dramatically higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), according to a new study in South Korea.

“We are suggesting parents should worry about how and why (kids) would have sex at such an early age, not just the fact they are doing it,” said lead author Seo Yoon Lee of the Institute of Health Services Research at Yonsei University in Seoul.

In Korea, parents are avoiding the conversation about sex and the content of sex education has not changed over the last 10 years, even as kids have more and more access to sexual materials online at younger ages, Lee told Reuters Health by email.

The researchers used data from a national web-based survey of youth risk behaviors administered annually by the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

A total of more than 525,000 kids in seventh to 12th grades completed the survey between 2007 and 2013. Only 22,400 of those who responded, about 4 percent, said they had experienced sexual intercourse, and only these responses were considered for the new study.

The teens also reported when they first had intercourse, with answers ranging from before elementary school to twelfth grade.

About 7 percent of the teens who had sex said they had experienced an STI, such as gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, HIV infection or other infection.

As age at first intercourse went down, the proportion of teens who had experienced an STI went up, especially for boys, according to the results in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Compared to kids whose first intercourse was in twelfth grade, for instance, those whose first experience was in seventh grade were three times more likely to have had an STI.

“We think that students or kids who have earlier sexual debut, —> Read More