Sexual activity, condom use and AIDS awareness among adolescent males

Freya L Sonenstein, J. H. Pleck, L. C. Ku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


New data from the 1988 National Survey of Adolescent Males indicate that 60 percent of never-married young men ages 15-19 are sexually active. Among 17-19-year-old males living in metropolitan areas, the rate of sexual activity reported in 1988 was 15 percent higher than that reported in 1979. This increase encompasses a rise of 23 percent among black males and 13 percent among nonblack males. Slightly more than half of the sexually active males in the 1988 survey reported that they had used a condom the last time they had had intercourse. Among both black and nonblack youths aged 17-19 living in metropolitan areas, rates of reported condom use at last intercourse more than doubled between 1979 and 1988. Conversely, reported reliance on ineffective methods of contraception or use of no method at last intercourse was 60 percent lower. When first intercourse occurred within two years of the 1988 survey, the odds of using a condom were increased by 110 percent over the odds when intercourse occurred between 1975 and 1982, after controlling for the effects of age at first intercourse, race and ethnicity. The young men in the sample were very knowledgeable about how the human immunodeficiency virus is transmitted, and over three-quarters of the sample did not dismiss the disease as uncommon, nor did they think that using condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS was too much trouble. The rates of condom use were significantly lower than average, however, among young men who had ever used drugs intravenously or whose partners had done so, young men who had ever had sex with a prostitute and those who had had five sexual partners or more in the past year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-158
Number of pages7
JournalFamily Planning Perspectives
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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