HIV Risk Behaviors Among U.S. High School Students Decline, Study Finds
The percentage of U.S. high school students engaging in sexual behaviors that can spread HIV and other sexually transmitted infections declined between 1991 and 2007, according to a study published Friday in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Reuters Health reports.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from several Youth Risk Behavior Surveys conducted during the study period and found that the percentage of high school students who were sexually experienced decreased by 12%. The researchers also found that the percentage of students who had multiple sexual partners decreased by 20% and that the percentage who were currently sexually active decreased by 7%. During the study period, the percentage of students who used a condom increased by 33% (Reuters Health, 7/31).
Between 1995 and 2007, the prevalence of injection-drug use among high school students remained below 4%. The study did find a significant increase in injection-drug among black and Hispanic students (MMWR, "Trends in HIV- and STD-Related Risk Behaviors Among High School Students-United States, 1991-2007," 8/1).
According to the report's findings, risky behaviors among black, Hispanic and male students did not decrease to the same extent as observed in the overall study group. In addition, from 2005 to 2007, the researchers found no significant changes in the prevalence of risky behaviors, according to Reuters Health.
In a related report, CDC researchers found that most U.S. secondary schools include HIV prevention education as part of their health curricula. Of the states surveyed, New York had the highest percentage of schools that taught HIV prevention at 99.3%, and Arizona had the lowest percentage at 35.6%. The researchers also found that only a few of the school surveyed provide information on all 11 prevention topics listed on the study questionnaire. According to the authors, schools "should increase efforts to teach all HIV prevention topics" to help reduce HIV-related risk behaviors (Reuters Health, 7/31).