Academic journal article Journal of School Health

Trends in HIV-Related Sexual Risk Behaviors among High School Students -- Selected U.S. Cities, 1991-1997

Academic journal article Journal of School Health

Trends in HIV-Related Sexual Risk Behaviors among High School Students -- Selected U.S. Cities, 1991-1997

Article excerpt

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Despite recent decreases in sexual risk behaviors among high school students nationwide,[1] human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection was the seventh leading cause of death among persons aged 15-24 years in the United States during 1997.[2] To determine whether the prevalence of HIV-related sexual risk behaviors among high school students also has decreased in certain urban areas heavily affected by the epidemic, CDC analyzed data from Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS) conducted in 1991, 1993, 1995, and 1997 in eight, large-city school districts: Boston, Mass.; Chicago, Ill.; Dallas, Texas; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Jersey City, N.J.; Miami, Fla.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and San Diego, Calif. This report summarizes the results of this analysis, which indicate that, from 1991 to 1997, the percentage of high school students engaging in HIV-related sexual risk behaviors decreased in some US cities.

The local YRBS, a component of CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, measures the prevalence of health-risk behaviors among adolescents through representative school-based surveys conducted biennially in selected city school districts. The 1991, 1993, 1995, and 1997 surveys used a two-stage cluster sample design to produce representative cross-sectional samples of students in grades 9-12. School districts in this report obtained weighted data (ie, had a scientifically selected sample, an overall response rate of at least 60%, and appropriate survey documentation) for at least three of the four years. Across all districts and years, sample sizes ranged from 369 to 3,343; school response rates ranged from 81% to 100%; student response rates ranged from 62% to 85%; and overall response rates ranged from 60% to 85%.

For each survey, students completed an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire that included questions about sexual intercourse, number of sex partners, and condom use. Sexual experience was defined as ever having had sexual intercourse, multiple sex partners as having had four or more sex partners during one's lifetime, current sexual activity as having had sexual intercourse during the three months preceding the survey, and condom use as having used a condom at last sexual intercourse among currently sexually active students. Data for racial/ethnic groups other than non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic white, and Hispanic were combined because, when presented separately, sample sizes were too small for meaningful analysis.

Data were weighted to provide estimates generalizable to all public school students in grades 9-12 in the respective jurisdictions. SUDAAN was used to calculate 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and to conduct trend analyses. The percentage change in behavior from 1991 to 1997 was calculated as the 1997 prevalence minus the 1991 prevalence divided by the 1991 prevalence and multiplied by 100. Secular trends were analyzed using logistic regression analyses that controlled for sex, school grade, and race/ethnicity. This report provides results from tests of linear trends. For Boston, 1991 data were not available; therefore, Boston's trend analyses were calculated from 1993 to 1997. For Philadelphia, 1993 data were not available; trend analyses for that city excluded data for that year.

Demographic characteristics of the respondents in 1997 closely matched the characteristics of the respondents in 1991, 1993, and 1995 (Table 1). Respondents were distributed evenly across sex and school grade, with slightly smaller percentages of 12th-grade students. The racial/ethnic distributions varied among cities, but generally had larger proportions of black and Hispanic students than of white students.

Table 1

Percentage of High School Students Who Completed the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, by Demographic Characteristics -- Selected U.S. Cities, 1997

Characteristic        Boston   Chicago   Dallas   Lauderdale


Female                 50. … 
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