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HIV/STD Prevention At A Glance

By the time young people graduate from high school, almost two thirds have had sex. Nearly 40 percent of sexually active students did not use a condom the last time they had sex, and one in five drank alcohol or took drugs before their last sexual intercourse. Young people engage in sexual risk behaviors that can have serious health consequences:

  • Approximately 22 percent of all new HIV diagnoses are among young people aged 13–24 years.1
  • Teens and young adults have the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) of any age group.
  • Three in 10 young women become pregnant before they reach the age of 20.
young Asian femal with books

Helping adolescents make healthy choices requires the involvement of families, communities, and many other sectors of society—and schools are an essential part of that effort. There were nearly 42 million youth aged 10-19 in the United States in 2015 (13% of the total U.S. population)2. Over 90% of students attend a public or private school for at least 6 hours a day during the most critical years of their social, physical, and intellectual development. The school environment is also a key setting in which students’ behaviors and ideas are shaped. Just as schools are critical to preparing students academically and socially, they are also vital partners in helping young people take responsibility for their health and adopt health-enhancing attitudes and behaviors that can last a lifetime.