Behavioral risk factors HIV imperil millions.
An estimated 9% of Americans aged 15-44 in 2002 engaged in sexual
behavior that put them at risk of acquiring HB/infection, and 2% were at
risk because they used injection drugs or crack; together, according to
a report based on data from Cycle 6 of the National Survey of Family
Growth, unsafe sexual behavior and drug use put 10% of men and women in
this age-group at risk of infection. (1) When those who had recently
been treated for an STD were included, 12% of 15-44-year-olds--14.4
million Americans--were estimated to be at risk of HIV infection because
of a behavioral risk factor. The proportion of individuals with
behavioral risk factors for HIV was higher among males than among
females (13% vs. 11%), and was twice as high among blacks as among
whites (20% vs. 10%). The level of risk also differed by education,
income, residence and history of incarceration. It was never lower than
8% and reached 16-18% among those living below 150% of the federal
poverty level, residents of central cities and individuals who had ever
been incarcerated. In almost all demographic categories examined, 6-14%
of individuals were at risk because of unsafe sexual behavior, and 2-4%
because they had recently had an STD. One-third of men and women at risk
of HIV had never been tested for the virus, and six in 10 had not used a
condom the last time they had intercourse.
(1.) Anderson JE, Mosher WD and Chandra A, Measuring HIV risk in
the U.S. population aged 15-44: results from Cycle 6 of the National
Survey of Family Growth, Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics,
2006, No. 377.
FYI is compiled and written by Dore Hollander, executive editor of
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.