Connections Between Sex Education and High-Risk Behaviors Among University Students

Thursday, April 25, 2013
Exhibit Hall Poster Area 2 (Convention Center)
Emily K. Beasley and Birgitta L. Baker, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Background/Purpose Previous research has documented that college-aged students often engage in high-risk sexual behaviors that expose them to HIV/AIDS infection; such as having multiple sex partners and engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse. Although educational programs have been deemed necessary for this age group and are often beneficial, many college students still engage in potentially harmful sexual behaviors. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the sexual health-risk behaviors of college students and information regarding HIV/AIDS prevention received on a university campus.

Method Students (N= 364) enrolled in a large university in the Southeastern United States completed online surveys regarding sexual behaviors, engagement in high-risk sexual activities, prevention of pregnancy/STIs, and education received on campus.

Analysis/Results Results indicated that despite access to education on campus, students still engaged in high-risk sexual behaviors. For example, the majority of respondents (81.8%) reported receiving instruction in their college classes regarding HIV/AIDS prevention, yet over half (59.1%) reported having never been tested. Students reported engaging in high risk behaviors such as not using a condom (35.5%) or using alcohol or drugs (55%) the last time they engaged in sexual intercourse.

Conclusions Results of this study indicate that although students have access to education on HIV/AIDS prevention, many still engage in high-risk sex behaviors. This information can be used to aid universities in developing new sex education objectives addressing students' continued engagement in high-risk sexual behaviors.