AIDS education, condom demand, and the sexual activity of American youth

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Abstract

This paper examines the effects of AIDS education at school and at home on the sexual behavior of American youth. Multinomial logit equations of the probabilities of abstinence, sexual intercourse with a condom, and intercourse without a condom are estimated using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Supplement of the 1992 National Health Interview Survey. We find no significant effects of AIDS education on the probability of abstinence, but we do find that AIDS education significantly raises the likelihood of condom-protected relative to unprotected intercourse. These results indicate that risk-altering and risk-revealing AIDS education dominate any utility-altering effects favoring intercourse over abstinence. We also find that young women are influenced by AIDS education to a greater extent than young men. Overall, our results suggest that educating young people about AIDS does not promote sex and encourages safer sex, reducing the likelihood of HIV transmission and lowering the subsequent social costs. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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