Background: To determine the prevalence and correlates of sexual activity and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected youth.
Methods: The Longitudinal Epidemiologic Study to Gain Insight into HIV/AIDS in Children and Youth (LEGACY) is an observational medical record study of perinatally and behaviorally HIV-infected (PHIV and BHIV) youth followed at 22 US HIV clinics. PHIV youth were HIV infected at birth or by breast-feeding. BHIV youth were HIV infected sexually or by injection drug use. We determined the prevalence of sexual activity during 2006 and examined correlates of sexual activity among 13- to 24-year-old PHIV youth using multivariable generalized linear models. Among sexually active persons, we determined the association between mode of HIV acquisition and non-HIV STI diagnosis using multivariable generalized linear models.
Results: In all, 34% (195/571) of PHIV and 89% (162/181) of BHIV youth were sexually active. Eighty percent (155/195) of sexually active PHIV youth reported ever using condoms. Ninety-three percent discussed sex with a health care provider. Increasing age (adjusted prevalence ratio [APR]: 1.17 per year of age, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.12–1.23), having a boyfriend/girlfriend (APR: 2.74, 95% CI = 1.75–4.29), and injection drug use (APR: 1.38, 95% CI = 1.06–1.79) correlated with sexual activity after adjusting for socio-demographic and HIV-related clinical variables. Among sexually active youth, after adjusting for relevant confounders, PHIV youth were less likely than BHIV youth to have been diagnosed with an STI in 2006 (APR: 0.25, 95% CI = 0.13–0.46).
Conclusions: Sexual activity among HIV-infected adolescents is common. Factors associated with sexual activity in this study should be taken into account in developing behavioral risk reduction interventions targeting PHIV youth.