A decade-long drop in the teen sex rate leveled off between 2001-2007 and it may now be slowly rising again, the Washington Post reports. The government survey of thousands of high school students also found that an increase in condom use flattened out in 2003. The numbers have alarmed public health workers and revived debate about the effectiveness of abstinence-focused sex-ed programs.
Backers of abstinence programs say the sexual activity statistics can be blamed on education that emphasizes contraceptive use—as well as a culture that glamorizes sex. Critics of the federally funded abstinence programs point out that the teen sex rate has barely budged since they began. A teen health expert noted that the diminishing interest in condom use was hardly surprising after the increase in "condom-bashing" abstinence education.