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J Youth Adolesc. 1994 Apr;23(2):271-88.

Sexual risk behavior, knowledge, and condom use among adolescents in juvenile detention.



A study conducted among 119 adolescents incarcerated at a juvenile detention facility in Seattle, Washington, indicated that this population engages in behaviors that place it at high risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus. The subjects were 14-19 years of age; included in the sample were 30 White males, 30 Black males, 30 White females, and 29 Black females. The median age at first intercourse ranged from 11.8 years for Black males to 12.9 years among White males. Females averaged 5-10 sexual partners to date, while males averaged 11-25 partners. 30% of White females and 14% of Black subjects had been paid for sex, while 27% of White females, 13% of White males, and 10% of Black males and females had been sexually involved with an intravenous drug user. Less than a third reported condom use at last intercourse with a steady partner; condoms were used less frequently in anal than vaginal intercourse. On a scale in which 7 represented the most positive response, mean attitude toward condom use was 5.39 with a steady partner and 5,88 with a casual partner. The average condom knowledge score was 75.2%, but Whites were considerably more knowledgeable than their Black counterparts. Unexpectedly, knowledge was significantly negatively correlated with the perception that condoms are pleasant to use. Greater knowledge showed no association with frequency of condom use in the past three months or the intent to use condoms in the future, These findings suggest a need for interventions that challenge negative perceptions of condom use in this high-risk population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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