198401 Sexual behavior among Puerto Rican adolescents: Considerations for school health education and services

Monday, November 9, 2009

Maria Santos-Ortiz, PhD, CHES , School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR
Mario Rodriguez-Sánchez, PhD , Department of Health Services Administration, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan

Sexual health of adolescents is an important aspect of public health efforts. As of December 2008, 15% of all HIV cases in PR were among persons 15-24 years old. In 2007, 70% of all Chlamydia cases were in that age. It is important to provide adequate and comprehensive intervention to this population segment, taking into consideration protective and risk factors that may contribute to sexual health behavior. This study analyzed HIV/STI's sexual risk behavior among a group of adolescents in the San Juan Metropolitan Area.


A secondary analysis of the POSIT-Phase II Adolescent HIV/STI Risk-of-Exposure Screen Development, Spanish Language version, data set was used. The data set was developed from a self-administered questionnaire that included social, demographic and HIV/STI's risk behavior questions. The sample included 149 adolescents, 49.7% males and 50.3% females.


Several issues were identified as sexual risk factors. Almost half of participants reported any sexual contact; one third has had sexual intercourse; one third did not use a condom at last intercourse; and one fourth ever had intercourse without using a condom. Other risk factors identified were: low risk perception, drug use, being pressured into having sexual relations, older partners, and peer sexual behavior. 52.7% of participants expressed they will wait to have sexual relations until they are older.


It is important to design a school health base program that incorporates a comprehensive education curriculum promoting sexual health. Preventive efforts must include diverse options, such as postponing sexual relations, masturbation and safer sexual practices.

Learning Objectives:
Identify the issues related to sexual behavior among adolescents in Puerto Rico. Analyze the importance of developing school health base program that take into account diverse approaches to sexual health education for adolescents.

Keywords: Sexual Risk Behavior, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: PhD in School Psychology Certified Health Educator Author of several publications. Working with HIV/STI's issues for more of 20 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.