Birth Control and Teens
By: Rachael Rettner, LiveScience Senior Writer
Published: 04/07/2015 02:14 PM EDT on LiveScience

More U.S. teens are using long-term forms of birth control that they don't have to remember every day, but these methods are still relatively uncommon, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2013, among teens seeking birth control, 7.1 percent used intrauterine devices (IUDs) or birth control implants , whereas just 0.4 percent of these teens used one of these methods in 2005, the study found. Use of these methods varied widely by state: In 2013, nearly 26 percent of teens seeking birth control in Colorado used IUDs or implants, compared to just 0.7 percent in Mississippi.


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Because these methods, known as long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), are the most effective types of birth control for teens, more efforts are needed to increase access to them, the CDC says.

"Health care professionals have a powerful role to play in reducing teen pregnancy. They can encourage teens not to have sex, and discuss the use of IUDs and implants as contraceptive options available to teens who choose to be sexually active," Ileana Arias, principal deputy director at the CDC, said in a statement.

"We need to remove barriers and increase awareness, access and availability" of these methods for teens, Arias said.

Although the U.S. teen birth rate has declined in recent years, there were still more than 273,000 children born to teens ages 15 to 19 in 2013.

LARC methods are safe for teens, and unlike birth control pills or condoms, they do not require that people remember to do something each day or every time they have sex, the CDC says.

Over a year of "real life" use, less than 1 percent of LARC users become pregnant, compared to 9 percent of women who use birth control pills and 18 percent who use condoms. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended LARC as the first-choice birth control for teens.

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