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Many boys say they’re likely to get someone pregnant

Sexual HealthSep 17, 05

More than half of teenage boys in a new survey said there was at least some chance they would get a girl pregnant in the near future-pointing, researchers say, to the importance of boys’ intentions and attitudes in preventing teen pregnancy.

The study, of 101 sexually experienced teenage boys treated at a California STD clinic, found that about one quarter said they intended to get someone pregnant in the next 6 months. Another third said they had no such plans, but were nonetheless likely to get a girl pregnant.

The findings, researchers report in the journal Pediatrics, underscore the importance of asking boys about their intentions and beliefs surrounding pregnancy.

Most past research on teen pregnancy has focused on girls’ attitudes and intentions, said lead study author Dr. Cynthia Rosengard, of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

This, she noted, is despite the fact that males typically “exert a strong influence” over key decisions, including whether to use condoms, and, if a girl does become pregnant, whether to continue the pregnancy.

For their study, Rosengard and her colleagues interviewed 101 male patients at a public clinic who were between the ages of 14 and 19. The group was racially diverse; 43 percent were black, 16 percent white, 15 percent Hispanic and 11 percent Asian American.

The researchers found that although only a minority said they intended to get someone pregnant in the near future, about 56 percent said there was “at least some likelihood” of it happening.

The latter finding likely reflects the teenagers’ attitudes toward using contraception, Rosengard said.

Overall, the study found, these teens were less likely than their peers to say they would insist on condom use in various situations, or to say they would use condoms in the future.

Speaking with teenage boys about both their intentions and their beliefs surrounding pregnancy is an important step in preventing teen pregnancy, Rosengard noted.

Improving sexually active boys’ attitudes toward condoms, she and her colleagues write, should be part of that effort.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, September 2005.

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