Among sexually active students in grades 9-12 in 2001, 58% reported using a condom the last time they had intercourse.(3) This percentage is two to three times higher than those reported in the 1970s before AIDS became a public issue.(5) This increase over time suggests that the emergence of AIDS and public campaigns to prevent AIDS through increased condom use have actually increased condom use.
Despite the challenges of determining at what ages HIV infection occurs, the U. Office of National AIDS Policy has estimated that half of all new HIV infections occur in people under 25 and that half of these occur among young people between the ages of 13 and 21.Among sexually experienced people, adolescents aged 15 to 19 years have some of the highest reported rates of STDs.In addition, particular groups of adolescents (eg, males who have sex with males, injection drug users, and teens who have sex for drugs) engage in even greater risk-taking behavior.Many adolescents engage in sexual intercourse with multiple partners and without condoms.Thus, they engage in sexual behaviors that place them at risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV.In addition, about 25% of all young people are infected by any STD by age 21.(9) Approximately a quarter of all reported cases of STDs occur among teenagers.(10) Globally, over 100 million STDs occur each year in people who are younger than 25 years old.(11) Adolescents have the highest age-specific rates for some STDs.(12) For example, teenagers have the highest rates of chlamydia.(13) Among sexually active 15- to 19-year-old females in the United States, rates of chlamydia infection are consistently higher than 5% and are often above 10%.(10) As a result, 40% of all reported chlamydia cases are among 15- to 19-year-old youth.