• Abstinence from sex is the only 100 percent effective way to prevent unplanned pregnancies and STDs.
  • For adolescents who are sexually active, using effective contraception (birth control) is necessary to avoid unwanted pregnancies. In addition, using condoms every time they have sexual contact can reduce the risk of STDs.
  • Adolescents who use contraception the first time they have sex are more likely to continue to keep using contraception.[1]
  • Hormonal and other highly effective contraception methods are used by females and require a medical prescription. These methods include oral contraceptives (“the pill”), patch, vaginal contraceptive ring, injection or “shot,” implant, and intrauterine device (IUD).
  • Barrier methods of birth control include the male condom, female condom, diaphragm or cervical cap (both require a medical prescription), and spermicides.
  • The use of dual methods—combining condoms and a hormonal method of birth control—is a more effective approach to pregnancy and STD prevention than the use of one method alone.
  • Rates of adolescent pregnancy are higher in the United States than they are in other industrialized countries partly because of lower contraceptive use among U.S. adolescents.[2],[3]
  • Open communication between adolescents and their parents, particularly about sex and birth control, is linked to increased condom and contraceptive use.[4]
  • Eight in 10 adolescents (80 percent) say that it would be much easier for adolescents to avoid teen pregnancy if they were able to have more open, honest conversations about this topic with their parents.[5]
  • Six in 10 adolescents (63 percent) report that the main reason they do not use contraception is because they are afraid their parents will find out.[6]

Know More

[1] Manlove, J., Ryan, S., & Franzetta, K. (2004). Contraceptive use and consistency in teens' most recent sexual relationships. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 36(6), 265-275.
[2] Abma, J. C., Martinez, G. M., & Copen, C. E. (2010). Teenagers in the United States: Sexual activity, contraceptiveuse, and childbearing, National Survey of Family Growth 2006-2008. National Center for Health Statistics Vital and Health Statistics, 23(30). Retrieved from
[3] Darroch, J. E., Frost, J. J., & Singh, S. (2001). Differences in teenage pregnancy rates among five developed countries: The roles of sexual activity and contraceptive use. Family Planning Perspectives, 33(6), 244-250.
[4] Kirby, D., & Lepore, G. (2007). Sexual risk and protective factors: Factors affecting teen sexual behavior, pregnancy, childbearing and sexually transmitted disease. Washington, DC: ETR Associates and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
[5] Ibid.

[6] Albert, B. (2010). With one voice, 2010: America's adults and teens sound off about teen pregnancy. Washington, DC: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Retrieved from


Last updated: January 04, 2017