HIV and Youth: HIV Risk Behaviors

The risk of getting or transmitting HIV varies widely depending on the type of exposure or behavior, and many factors can increase or decrease HIV risk. Recent data from CDC’s National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which monitors health behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth, reveal substance use before sex, low rates of condom use, and multiple sex partners.

Substance Use Among High School Students in the US, 2019
Condom Use Among High School Students in the US, 2019
Multiple Sex Partners Among High School Students in the US, 2019

Most commonly, people get or transmit HIV through anal or vaginal sex, or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment—for example, cookers. However, not every exposure to HIV carries the same risk, and some sexual activities are riskier than others.

Sexual Behaviors Among Young Gay and Bisexual Men in 23 US Cities, 2017*
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