CHICAGO -- A surprising 80 percent of teenage boys say they are using condoms the first time they have sex, a government survey found, in a powerful sign that decades of efforts to change young people's sexual behavior are taking hold.

Boys' condom use may mean they are taking more responsibility for contraception or they are protecting themselves from sexually transmitted diseases, experts say. Or are girls drawing the line?

"I'm not sure how much of this is . . . girls insisting they use a condom," said Olivier Vanasse, 17, of Princeton, N.J. "I'd be hesitant to give guys credit for coming up with this on their own."

Vanasse, a high school senior, is a staff writer for sexetc.org, a project of Rutgers University's Answer, a national sex education organization.

The study, released yesterday, is based on interviews with 4,700 teenagers, ages 15 to 19, from 2006 through 2010. The percentage of boys who said they used condoms the first time they had sex climbed from 71 percent in 2002 to 80 percent in the new survey. In 1988, 55 percent of boys said they did so.

Overall, about 43 percent of girls and 42 percent of boys report ever having vaginal intercourse, a rate that is statistically unchanged since 2002. In 1988, 51 percent of girls and 60 percent of boys reported that they had had sex. -- AP

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