Adolescent Admissions to Residential Drug Treatment: HIV Risk Behaviors Pre- and Posttreatment

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HIV risk behaviors of adolescents (N = 938) admitted to residential therapeutic communities for drug abuse and related problems are described. Approximately 95% of the sample was sexually active. The adolescents reported that they had used drugs or alcohol about half of the time that they engaged in sexual relations and that half of their sexual activity was unprotected. Males and females differed in their self-perceptions of risk for HIV infection. Three dimensions of risky behaviors were identified by factor-analytic procedures: Risky Sex With Men, Risky Sex With Women, and Risky Drug Use Behaviors. Separate regression equations for males and females identified common and unique predictors of risky behaviors. A comparison of 1-year pretreatment with 1-year posttreatment risky behaviors for a subsample of the full cohort revealed significant positive changes (i.e., reductions) on some, but not all, measures of risky behaviors.

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