July 25, 2012
According to the most recent findings from CDC's health survey of high school students, far fewer black students are engaging in risky sexual behavior than they were 20 years ago. However, they still participate in risky behavior more often than white and Hispanic students, according to findings released Tuesday at the 19th International AIDS Conference.
Rates of risky behavior among all teens have declined only slightly over the past two decades. In 2011, 46 percent reported ever having sex, compared with 54 percent in 1991. Fourteen percent reported having four or more sex partners, down from 19 percent in 1991. For Hispanic students, the rates in both categories barely changed.
According to CDC, one possible reason for the good news about black students could be sex education and HIV prevention efforts: The proportion of black students taking these classes rose to 87 percent in 2011 from 84 percent in 1991. Black students were the only group to show a steady increase in those taking the classes. Overall, fewer US high-school students have received instruction about HIV and sex due to budget cutbacks in the past decade.
At 65 percent, sexually active black students were the most likely to use a condom in their most recent sexual encounter, though this rate dropped from 70 percent in 1999.
"The overall plateau [among all students] is troubling," Laura Kann, senior scientist at CDC, said at the AIDS conference.
07.25.2012; Lena H. Sun
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