Last week, the CDC released their 2013 National Youth Risk Survey. Conducted every two years, over 13,000 U.S. high school students were surveyed from 42 states and 21 large urban schools.
The survey measured:
- Sexual risk behaviors
- Unintentional injuries and violence
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol and drug use
- Unhealthy dietary behaviors
- Physical inactivity
The results from the study showed a slight change over the last 3 years and a greater difference when compared over a 10 year period. Over 10 years, there was a 7% decrease in the amount of students having ever had sexual intercourse (46.8% of students polled) and reduced percentage of students engaged in sex within the last 3 months (34%).
While the number of students having sex was down, the percentage of students using condoms was down 4% over the last 10 years. Students in Nevada reported having used a condom 59% of the time (national average). And 23% of students engaged in sexual intercourse without protection after having used drugs or alcohol.
What do the results mean? The CDC reports that youth aged 13 to 24 accounted for 26% of all new HIV infections in the US in 2010 and that “almost 60% of youth with HIV in the United States do not know they are infected.” In addition to HIV risk, students engaging in unprotected sex are more susceptible to pregnancy and STIs (half of the 19 million new STIs each year are among young people aged 15–24 years).
When looking at the other categories measured, the study found in Nevada that:
- 29.2% of students were currently sexually active, having had sexual intercourse with at least one person during the 3 months before the survey
- 19.2% were not taught about AIDS or HIV infection in school
- 10% of Nevada students report being physically forced to have sexual intercourse at some time
- 10% of students regularly smoked cigarettes, down from national average of 15.7%
- 23.6 report having been in a physical fight once or more during the 12 months prior to the survey
- 15% Were electronically bullied through either e-mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites, or texting (during the 12 months before the survey)
- 12% Seriously considered attempting suicide (during the 12 months before the survey)