Early initiation of sexual intercourse and associated health risk behaviors among US High school students – national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2011-2013
Objective: To describe the prevalence of early initiation of sexual intercourse and identify associated health risk behaviors.
Methods: We analyzed data from the 2011 and 2013 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. Each survey employed a nationally representative three-stage cross-sectional sample of students in grades 9-12. Using sex-stratified logistic regression models that controlled for race/ethnicity, we calculated adjusted prevalence ratios to measure associations between age at first sexual intercourse and 38 other health risk behaviors among students ages ≥17 years.
Results: Early initiation of sexual intercourse was reported by 2.8% of female and 7.9% of male students. Compared to students who never had sexual intercourse, students who initiated sexual intercourse early were significantly more likely to engage in more than 30 health risk behaviors examined. The health risk behaviors most strongly associated with early initiation of sexual intercourse were illicit drug use and violence. Among students who ever had sexual intercourse, those who initiated early were significantly more likely to be currently sexually active (male students only), have multiple sex partners, not use a condom, not use any form of birth control, and use alcohol or drugs before their last sexual intercourse.
Conclusions: School-based programs to promote sexual health may want to encourage delay of initiation of sexual intercourse and coordinate with violence and drug use prevention programs.
Learning Areas:Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Describe the prevalence of early initiation of sexual intercourse (i.e., first sexual intercourse before age 13 years), by sex and race/ethnicity among US high school students ages 17 years and older. Identify the health risk behaviors significantly associated with early initiation of sexual intercourse among US high school students ages 17 years and older. Discuss potential implications of these findings on school-based programs to promote sexual health among US high school students.
Keyword(s): Sexual Risk Behavior, Adolescents
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have more than 20 years experience as a Medical Officer and epidemiologist in the Division of Adolescent and School Health in the Centers for Disease Control. I have published dozens of papers in peer reviewed medical journals on the health risk behaviors of adolescents, including sexual risk behaviors.
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.