Disparities in HIV/AIDS risk behaviors after youth leave detention: A 14-year longitudinal study

Karen M. Abram, Marquita L. Stokes, Leah J. Welty, David A. Aaby, Linda A. Teplin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To examine changes in the prevalence of 15 HIV/AIDS sex and drug risk behaviors in delinquent youth during the 14 years after they leave detention, focusing on sex and racial/ethnic differences. METHODS: The Northwestern Juvenile Project, a prospective longitudinal study of 1829 youth randomly sampled from detention in Chicago, Illinois, recruited between 1995 and 1998 and reinterviewed up to 11 times. Independent interviewers assessed HIV/AIDS risk behaviors using the National Institutes on Drug Abuse Risk Behavior Assessment. RESULTS: Fourteen years after detention (median age, 30 years), one-quarter of males and one-tenth of females had >1 sexual partner in the past 3 months. One-tenth of participants reported recent unprotected vaginal sex with a high-risk partner. There were many sex and racial/ethnic differences. For example, African American males had 4.67 times the odds of having >1 partner than African American females (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.22-6.76). Over time, compared with non-Hispanic white males, African American males had 2.56 times the odds (95% CI, 1.97-3.33) and Hispanic males had 1.63 times the odds (95% CI, 1.24-2.12) of having multiple partners, even after adjusting for incarceration and age. Non-Hispanic white females were more likely to have multiple partners than racial/ethnic minority females. CONCLUSIONS: Although rates decrease over time, prevalence of sex risk behaviors are much higher than the general population. Among males, racial/ethnic minorities were at particular risk. The challenge for pediatric health is to address how disproportionate confinement of racial/ethnic minority youth contributes to disparities in the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20160360
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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