More teenage girls in the US are waiting longer to have sex, and when they do become sexually active, more of them are using highly effective contraception, health officials said Thursday.

A report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based on data from 2006 to 2010, said 57 percent of females aged 15-19 had never had sex, up from 49 percent in 1995.

Younger teens, those aged 15–17, were more likely to be virgins (73 percent) than older teens (36 percent) and the proportion of teens who had never had sex did not differ by race or ethnicity, the report said.

Meanwhile, about 60 percent of sexually active teens said they were currently using contraceptive methods more effective than condoms, including intrauterine devices (IUDs) and birth control pills.

That figure marks an increase from 47 percent in 1995, however there were disparities among racial and ethnic groups.

Sixty-six percent of white sexually active teenage girls reported using highly effective methods, compared to 46 percent of black teens and 54 percent of Hispanic teens.

The findings come just weeks after the CDC found the number of babies born to teen moms in the US is at its lowest number in more than six decades, though still one of the highest among industrialized nations.

To further reduce teen pregnancy rates, the CDC said schools and communities could provide sex education, encourage parents to speak to their children about delaying sex and pregnancy, and help connect teenagers to reproductive health services that provide "culturally competent, evidence-based" counseling and an array of contraceptive methods.

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