Indian teens have become sexually active at a younger age than before as according to recent studies, they are contracting sexually transmitted infections in numbers higher than before.

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It is estimated that  15,000-odd teens between 13 and 19 from 20 cities including the metros, which is around 8.9% gave a history suggestive of sexually transmitted infection at least once. The average age of first sexual contact for boys was 13.72 years and 14.09 years for girls.

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“This is alarming considering that it’s more than double the STD/HIV incidence reported for this age group in the Naco (National AIDS Control Organization) annual report of 2011-12,” said Dr Debraj Shome of MediAngels.com .

“Among those surveyed, over 6.3% boys and over 1.3% girls reported to have had intercourse at least once. The average age at first intercourse in those who had it was 14 years for boys and 16 years for girls,” it added. The National Family Health Survey 3, which came out in 2006, said that young people aged between 15 and 24 commonly engage in premarital sex; more men (15-22%) than women (1-6%).

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“The government needs to also recognize that we need more sexual education, said Dr. Shome. If we don’t, then the combination of increased and early sexual experimentation and decreased awareness could result in more underage pregnancies and rise in STDs like AIDS.”