This report describes the results of surveys completed by American youth (grades 9 – 12) covering six categories of “priority health-risk” behaviors among youth and young adults. The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) results show that a high number of youth are engaging in sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Nationwide, 46.8% of students surveyed had had sexual intercourse, with 5.6% of students having had sexual intercourse for the first time before age 13. 34.0% of students had had sexual intercourse with at least one person during the 3 months before the survey, which categorized them as sexual active.
Among the 34.0% of currently sexually active students nationwide, only 59.1% reported using a condom during last sexual intercourse and 25.3% reported using some form of birth control to prevent pregnancy before last sexual intercourse. Among the 34.0% of currently sexually active students nationwide, 22.4% drank alcohol or used drugs before last sexual intercourse.
One positive result of the survey was that nationwide, 85.3% of students had been taught in school about AIDS or HIV infection. While this is an encouraging statistic, it must be contrasted with the fact that only 12.9% of students surveyed nationwide had been tested for HIV (not including tests done when donating blood). This report highlights the need to continue working on educational outreach efforts to our nation youth to increase their sexual and reproductive health knowledge.