Journal Article

Young Age at First Sexual Intercourse and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Adolescents and Young Adults

Christine E. Kaestle, Carolyn T. Halpern, William C. Miller and Carol A. Ford

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 161, issue 8, pages 774-780
Published in print April 2005 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online April 2005 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwi095
Young Age at First Sexual Intercourse and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Adolescents and Young Adults

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The authors examined the relation between age at first vaginal intercourse and a positive nucleic acid amplification test for sexually transmitted infection (STI). A nationally representative sample of 9,844 respondents aged 18–26 years was tested for chlamydial infection, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis in wave 3 (2001–2002) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The authors used multiple logistic regression to assess the relation between age at first sexual intercourse and these STIs and to examine variation by current age, sex, race, and ethnicity. Younger ages at first intercourse were associated with higher odds of STI in comparison with older ages, but the effect diminished with increasing current age. For example, the odds of having an STI for an 18-year-old who first had intercourse at age 13 were more than twice those of an 18-year-old who first had intercourse at age 17 (prevalence odds ratio = 2.25, 95% confidence interval: 1.42, 3.59). In contrast, the odds of having an STI among 24-year-olds with first intercourse at age 13 versus those with first intercourse at age 17 were the same (prevalence odds ratio = 1.11, 95% confidence interval: 0.88, 1.39). Thus, earlier initiation of sexual intercourse is strongly associated with STIs for older adolescents but not for young adults over age 23 years.

Keywords: adolescent behavior; Chlamydia trachomatis; Neisseria gonorrhoeae; sexually transmitted diseases; Trichomonas vaginalis; Add Health, National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health; STI, sexually transmitted infection

Journal Article.  4825 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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