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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — For some families sex can be a taboo topic. But a new study suggests teens may not have the info they need about the birds and the bees.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows teens may be turning to oral sex as a safer alternative to intercourse. It’s a fact that’s not surprising to pediatrician David Hill.

“We are seeing rates of oral sex go up, and a lot of teens think there is no risk whatsoever,” Dr. Hill said.

However there are many health risks with oral sex, including the spreading of many sexually transmitted diseases.

“Gonorrhea is a cause of a really severe sore throat as a result of oral sex, and it is getting much harder to treat gonorrhea, because it is resistant to most drugs that we have,” Dr. Hill said. “Also genital warts can be transmitted, and those can be associated later in life with throat cancer.”

Despite the increase in the number of teens having oral sex, Dr. Hill says teens are waiting longer to have intercourse.

“I think the good news that we have is that teen pregnancy rates over the last decade or so have fallen in the United States,” Hill said. “That suggests in part that sex education is helping and that a lot of teens are making better choices.”

Choices that can start with a simple conversation at home or in the classroom.

“Nothing helps safeguard kids against against sexual behavior better than good education,” Dr. Hill said. “And that conversation is really a lifelong conversation.”

Click here for more information on age appropriate ways to educate your child about sex.

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