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For the national YRBS, prevalence estimates were computed overall and by grade (9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th), sex (male or female), and race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic white [white], black, or Hispanic).The majority of adolescents initiate sexual activity during high school, and the proportion of high school students who have ever had sexual intercourse increases by grade; black students are more likely to have ever had sexual intercourse than are white students (3).The proportion of high school students overall who had ever had sexual intercourse did not change significantly during 1995–2005 (53.1% to 46.8%) (Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, CDC, unpublished data).What are the implications for public health practice?During 2005–2015, the overall decrease in the prevalence of ever having had sexual intercourse is a positive change in the level of sexual risk among adolescents in the United States.
Further, decreases by grade and race/ethnicity represent positive changes among groups of students who have been determined in previous studies to be at higher risk for negative outcomes associated with early sexual initiation, such as greater numbers of partners, condom non-use, teen pregnancy, and STI (1–3).