HIV and Other STD Prevention and United States Students

What is the problem?

The 2017 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicates that among U.S. high school students:

Sexual Risk Behaviors

  • 39.5% ever had sexual intercourse.
  • 3.4% had sexual intercourse for the first time before age 13 years.
  • 9.7% had sexual intercourse with four or more persons during their life.
  • 28.7% were currently sexually active. 1
  • 46.2% did not use a condom during last sexual intercourse. 2
  • 9.3% were ever tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). 3

Alcohol and Other Drug Use

  • 18.8% drank alcohol or used drugs before last sexual intercourse. 2
  • 1.5% ever injected any illegal drug. 4

What are the solutions?

  • Better health education
  • More comprehensive health services
  • More supportive environments

What is the status?

The School Health Policies and Practices Study 2014 indicates that among U.S. high schools:

Health Education

  • 88% required students to receive instruction on health topics as part of a specific course.

As part of a required health education course:

  • 75% taught how to prevent HIV infection.
  • 76% taught how to prevent STDs.
  • 65% taught how to find valid information or services related to HIV or HIV testing.
  • 70% taught how to find valid information or services related to STDs or STD screening.
  • 76% taught abstinence as the most effective method to avoid pregnancy, HIV, and other STDs.
  • 35% taught how to correctly use a condom.
  • 50% taught how to obtain condoms.
  • 55% taught the importance of using a condom at the same time as another form of contraception to prevent both STDs and pregnancy.
  • 76% taught the relationship between alcohol or other drug use and the risk for HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy.

Health Services

  • 50% provided HIV or STD prevention services at school in one-on-one or small-group sessions.
  • 7% made condoms available to students at school.
  • 40% provided HIV counseling, testing, and referral services at school.
  • 54% provided identification, treatment of, or referral for STDs at school.
  • 16% provided identification, treatment of, or referral for STDs to students through arrangements with providers not located on school property.
  • 3% provided the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to students at school.
  • 35% provided services specifically for gay, lesbian, or bisexual students at school.

Supportive Environments

  • 38% had a gay/straight alliance.
  1. Had sexual intercourse with at least one person, during the 3 months before the survey.
  2. Among students who were currently sexually active.
  3. Not counting tests done if they donated blood.
  4. Used a needle to inject any illegal drug into their body, one or more times during their life.