(ATLANTA) -- A multi-year study of more than 14,000 teens finds many reported abstinence from sex, but were still infected with typically sexually-transmitted diseases. Roughly 10 percent of those in the large study who tested positive for an STD said they had not had sex over the past year. Half said they had never had sex at all.
One of the study's authors, Jessica McDermott Sales of Emory University in Atlanta, says dishonesty is one explanation, but not the only one. She is quoted in The New York Times as saying, "This is a fairly sizable portion of kids who are saying they're not sexually active when they apparently are."
The more than 14,000 participants in the study were first questioned in 1994 and then surveyed again in 2001 and 2002. Significantly, those who reported having had sex were only twice as likely to be infected with an STD as those who reported no sexual activity -- a reportedly small difference, in statistical terms.
The research appears in the January edition of Pediatrics.
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