(HealthDay News) – Although there were reductions in HIV-related risk behavior among US high school students from 1991 to the early 2000s, behaviors have subsequently stabilized.
Using data from the CDC’s National Youth Risk Behavior Surveys from 1991–2001, Laura Kann, PhD, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined trends overall and by race/ethnicity for HIV-related risk behavior among US high school students.
The researchers found that, through the early 2000s, sexual risk behaviors declined among US high school students, but progress subsequently stalled. From 1991–2001 there was a decrease in the proportion of US high school students who had ever had sex (54% to 46%) or had had multiple partners (>4; 19% to 14%); there was an increase in the proportion of students who used a condom last time they had sex (from 46% in 1991 to 63% in 2003). These proportions stabilized and were 47%, 15%, and 60%, respectively, in 2011. There was also a decrease in the proportion of students who had had sex within the preceding three months, from 38% in 1991 to 34% in 2011.
“Protecting the health of young people and accelerating progress in HIV prevention in this population will require building upon these and other efforts in homes, schools, and communities across the nation,” the authors write. “Only by intensifying our collective efforts will we be able to achieve our shared goal of an AIDS-free generation.”