Many young people engage in sexual risk behaviors that can result in unintended health outcomes. For example, among US high school students surveyed in 2013:
- 47% had ever had sexual intercourse.
- 34% had had sexual intercourse during the previous 3 months, and, of these
- 41% did not use a condom the last time they had sex.
- 15% had had sex with four or more people during their life.
- Only 22% of sexually experienced students have ever been tested for HIV.
Sexual risk behaviors place adolescents at risk for HIV infection, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and unintended pregnancy:
- Nearly 10,000 young people (aged 13-24) were diagnosed with HIV infection in the United States in 2013.2
- Young gay and bisexual men (aged 13-24) accounted for an estimated 19% (8,800) of all new HIV infections in the United States, and 72% of new HIV infections among youth in 2010.3
- Nearly half of the 20 million new STDs each year were among young people, between the ages of 15 to 24.4
- Approximately 273,000 babies were born to teen girls aged 15–19 years in 2013.5
To reduce sexual risk behaviors and related health problems among youth, schools and other youth-serving organizations can help young people adopt lifelong attitudes and behaviors that support their health and well-being—including behaviors that reduce their risk for HIV, other STDs, and unintended pregnancy.