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Am Fam Physician. 2007;75(4):575

U.S. high school students who use illicit injection drugs or have unprotected sexual intercourse are at higher risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data from eight national surveys between 1991 and 2005 to determine if there was any change in the sexual behaviors of these students. A summary of those results was published in the August 11, 2006, issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Students completed questionnaires about their sexual experience, current sexual activity, their number of sex partners, condom use, and whether they had ever injected illicit drugs.

Between 1991 and 2005, sexual experience decreased from 54.1 percent to 46.8 percent among high school students. The number of students who reported having four or more sex partners in their lifetime decreased from 18.7 percent to 14.3 percent. Current sexual activity decreased from 37.4 percent to 33.9 percent.

For students who were sexually active, condom use increased from 46.2 percent to 62.8 percent, and illicit injection drug use remained less than 4 percent.

Although these results indicate that the percentage of high school students who engage in risky sexual behaviors is decreasing, many students still engage in HIV-related risk behaviors. The CDC recommends that measures targeting these behaviors should be strengthened to decrease the prevalence of HIV infection among high school students.

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