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Finally, some adolescents are at risk of contracting HIV through sharing needles used to inject drugs.These patterns have important implications for educational programs.Thus, many adolescents began having sexual intercourse with multiple sexual partners prior to marriage, and this, of course, facilitated STD and HIV transmission. in 2001, 46% reported ever having had sexual intercourse. high school seniors in 2001, about 22% had had sexual intercourse with four or more sexual partners.(3) The impact of having sex and especially of having multiple partners is somewhat diminished by the fact that most Americans, including adolescents, have sexual partners within social networks.In many countries, a significant proportion of young people initiate sexual activity by age 15. About 61% reported having sex before they graduated from high school.(3) Although most teenagers practice serial monogamy and do not have sexual intercourse with more than one sexual partner during any given period of time, their numbers of sexual partners do add up over time. These networks are often defined by ethnicity, class, geographic location, and other socially defined norms.According to some estimates, both ulcerative and nonulcerative STDs increase HIV transmission risks as much as 3- to 5-fold.(7) And, of course, STDs are transmitted by unprotected sex that can also lead to HIV transmission.About 3 million teenagers acquire an STD every year in the United States.(8) This represents roughly one in eight young people between the ages of 13 and 19, and about one in four of those who have ever had sexual intercourse.
Some of these programs have been effective at changing behavior, while others have not.In addition, there are some adolescents who engage in very frequent unprotected sex for drugs, and thereby greatly increase their risk, both by having frequent unprotected sex and by having sex with partners in high-risk groups.These high-risk groups are somewhat bounded by social networks, but this may change.Educational programs for school-aged males should adequately address the risks of unprotected intercourse among males who may have sex with males, while programs for young women and female adolescents in the United States should address the special threat of unprotected heterosexual intercourse with injection drug users and the exchange of sex for drugs.Finally, programs should address drug use and needle sharing.
Adolescents, in general, are at risk of contracting HIV through sexual transmission, because a large majority engage in sexual intercourse, have multiple partners over a period of time, and fail to consistently use a condom during every act of intercourse.