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Disparities in HIV/AIDS Risk Behaviors After Youth Leave Detention: A 14-Year Longitudinal Study

NCJ Number
Pediatrics Issue: 2 Dated: February 2017
K. M. Abram; Marquita L. Stokes; Leah J. Welty; David A. Aaby; Linda A. Teplin
Date Published
February 2017
14 pages
This article presents the findings and methodology of a study that examined changes in the prevalence of 15 HIV/AIDS sex and drug risk behaviors in delinquent youth during the 14 years after they left detention, with a focus on sexual behavior and racial/ethnic differences.
The study found that although the prevalence of most risk behaviors declined with age, delinquent youth continued to be at great risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), particularly regarding behaviors associated with heterosexual contact. Fourteen years after detention, when study participants were a median 30 years old, 25 percent of males and 10 percent of females had more than one sexual partner in the past 3 months. In contrast, in a national sample of young adults ages 15 to 44 years, 18 percent of males and 14 percent of females reported having more than one sex partner in the past year. Moreover, 10 percent of males and females in the delinquent sample reported recent unprotected vaginal sex with a high-risk partner. Risk behaviors linked to alcohol and non-injection drug use were common as youth aged. Fourteen years after detention, nearly half of males and just over 25 percent of females reported having unprotected sex while drunk or high in the past 3 months. Among males, there were many racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of risk behaviors. African-American males had the highest prevalence of multiple partners compared with Hispanic and non-Hispanic White males. Among females, however, non-Hispanic White youth were more likely than minority youth to have multiple partners and to have sex while drunk or high. The study was the Northwestern Juvenile Project, a prospective longitudinal study of 1,829 youth randomly sampled from detention in Chicago and recruited between 1995 and 1998. They were re-interviewed up to 11 times over the 14-year followup period. 4 figures and 79 references