HEALTH : Girls Starting Sex Lives Sooner

From Times Wire Services

America's teen-age girls seem to be having sex sooner, according to early reports from a federal survey of childbearing and sexual practices.

A 1988 survey of young women 15 to 19 found that 54% had intercourse at least once, according to researchers with the National Center for Health Statistics. That compares to 47% in a similar survey in 1982.

"A larger percentage of teen-agers (are) initiating sexual intercourse at younger ages than in 1982," the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control said in its report this week, commenting on the center's research.

"That's a fair conclusion to draw from this," said Dr. William Pratt, chief of the center's Family Growth Survey Branch in Hyattsville, Md. "We're quite sure it's real."

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