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Sexual Intercourse Among High School Students — 29 States and United States Overall, 2005–2015
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    29300723
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC5758303
  • Description:
    Early initiation of sexual activity is associated with having more sexual partners, not using condoms, sexually transmitted infection (STI), and pregnancy during adolescence (1,2). The majority of adolescents initiate sexual activity during high school, and the proportion of high school students who have ever had sexual intercourse increases by grade; black students are more likely to have ever had sexual intercourse than are white students (3). The proportion of high school students overall who had ever had sexual intercourse did not change significantly during 1995-2005 (53.1% to 46.8%) (Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, CDC, unpublished data). To assess whether changes have occurred in recent years in the proportion of high school students who have ever had sexual intercourse, CDC examined trends overall and by grade, race/ethnicity, and sex among U.S. high school students, using data from the 2005-2015 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBSs) and data from 29 states* that conduct the YRBS and have weighted data. Nationwide, the proportion of high school students who had ever had sexual intercourse decreased significantly overall and among 9th and 10th grade students, non-Hispanic black (black) students in all grades, and Hispanic students in three grades. A similar pattern by grade was observed in nearly half the states (14), where the prevalence of ever having had sexual intercourse decreased only in 9th grade or only in 9th and 10th grades; nearly all other states saw decreases in some or all grades. The overall decrease in the prevalence of ever having had sexual intercourse during 2005-2015 is a positive change in sexual risk among adolescents (i.e., behaviors that place them at risk for human immunodeficiency virus, STI, or pregnancy) in the United States, an overall decrease that did not occur during the preceding 10 years. Further, decreases by grade and race/ethnicity represent positive changes among groups of students who have been determined in previous studies to be at higher risk for negative outcomes associated with early sexual initiation, such as greater numbers of partners, condom non-use, teen pregnancy, and STI (1-3). More work is needed to understand the reasons for these decreases and to ensure that they continue.

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