HIV and STD Prevention At A Glance

By the time young people graduate from high school, 40% have had sex. Fifty-four percent of sexually active students did not use a condom the last time they had sex, and 19% drank alcohol or took drugs before their last sexual intercourse.1 Young people engage in sexual risk behaviors that can have serious health consequences:

  • Approximately 21% of all new HIV diagnoses are among young people aged 13–24 years.2
  • Teens and young adults have the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) of any age group.3
  • The birth rate for young women is declining, but remains higher than in other industrialized countries.4

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 56 million students in the United States in 2017.5,6 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.

  1. CDC. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2017. MMWR Surveill Summ 2018;67(No. SS-8).
  2. CDC. Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2016. HIV Surveillance Report 2016, vol. 28; November 2017.
  3. CDC. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2017. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018.
  4. Martin JA, Hamilton BE, Osterman MJK, Driscoll AK, Drake P. Births: Final data for 2016. National Vital Statistics Report Rep 2016; vol 67, no 1. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2018.
  5. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Educations Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics (2016). Fast Facts: Back to school statistics. Washington, D.C.
  6. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Educations Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics (2016). The Condition of Education: Elementary and Secondary Enrollment. Washington, D.C.