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March 13, 2012 Print

Sexual Behaviors Associated with HIV-AIDS

by Chad Hills

One in every 139 women will be diagnosed with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection at some point in her lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). March 10th is designated as National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Outside of a committed, monogamous, heterosexual marriage, sexual activity puts women and men at risk for HIV. According to the CDC, the only 100-percent effective way not to get HIV is:

Don’t have sex. Abstaining from sex means not having any type of sex at all—oral, anal, or vaginal. Abstinence is 100% effective in preventing sexual transmission of HIV.

And, if you are married, then remain faithful to your spouse. Choices matter. The healthiest way to avoid any sexually transmitted infections/diseases (STIs/STDs), including HIV, is to wait until you are married to a person who has made the same choice in life. If he or she has been sexually active in previous relationships, wait at least six months and test for HIV and other STIs. In contrast to an increasingly popular belief, currently, there is no cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS. Great  efforts are being madeto find a vaccine and prolong the lives of HIV-infected people, but once you have been infected with HIV, it will likely lead to the condition known as AIDS, for which there is no cure at this time. Here’s a brief summary of CDC charts showing various sexual behaviors associated with the incidence of HIV infections in the United States as of 2009:

  • The number of men infected with HIV is three times higher than HIV-positive women (males 77%, females 23%).
  • HIV infection is most prevalent among the 13-29 year-old population (39%).
  • Black/African-American males and females carry the highest burden of HIV infection (males 46%, females 65%) of any ethnic group.
  • Male-to-male sexual contact is responsible for 74% of all reported male HIV infections.
  • Heterosexual contact is responsible for 85% of all reported female HIV infections.
  • White Men who have sex with men (MSM) is the group maintaining the highest number of new HIV infections in the U.S., followed closely by Black/African-American MSM.
  • States in southern U.S. and along the eastern coast have highest rates of HIV infection among young adults, ages 20-24.

HIV Infection - Males 77% - Females 23%

HIV Infection - highest among ages 13-29 yrs.

HIV Infection by age, 2009

Heterosexual contact - leading cause - HIV infection in females

Black/African-Americans - Highest incidence HIV infection

Sexual Behaviors with most HIV infections

White and Black MSM - Majority of HIV infections

MSM - HIV infection by race-ethnicity

HIV Infections 20-24 yrs - majority in south and east U.S.

[Download a PDF of all charts]

Dig Deeper …

CitizenLink.comand Other Resources

CDC Resources


  • Anonymous

    Hi Joe!
    I’m extremely confident you will find nobody who had sex with me prior to marriage. I waited until after I was married to have sexual intercourse, but it wasn’t easy! Too many people have so much baggage (STIs/STDs, children, emotional and mental problems) later in life because they were sexually active prior to marriage – it’s all too common.

    My teen years were not the ‘model Christian’ years for dating behavior, but none of my youth pastors told us that boyfriends and girlfriends shouldn’t be carelessly making out, having smooching sessions, being alone in dangerous situations, etc. These types of activities make our bodies think we’re preparing to have sex, and then it’s very frustrating (physically/mentally/relationally/sexually) when we say: “Stop here!” Biologically and hormonally, we are saying, “Go!” while rationally (teen brains are still developing … not very critical or rational yet) we are saying, “Stop!” How frustrating, when we should be focusing on life goals, life views, character, communication and asking ourselves, “Could I be married to this person or not?”

    Truthfully, when we act like married people engaging in foreplay (intensely kissing, touching bodies, prolonged close hugging, etc), we can fully expect to be sexually aroused – and that train is difficult to stop, once it’s set in motion. I was very frustrated as a teen with multiple girlfriends, because nobody ever helped me set healthy boundaries for a healthy premarital relationship. I hope the work I do with teens will help them understand how to set boundaries and have healthier teen relationships than I had as a youth and college student. There’s a growing number of teens and college students choosing to wait, and this is encouraging!

    Take care, and thanks for writing CitizenLink.com!

    • AJ

       Thank you, Chad, for articulating so well the frustrations of careless boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.  I had similar experiences, and likewise have a passion to help teens understand the dangers involved.  I have been able to convey this to my son who has thus far avoided these type of relationships, but I lead a girl’s small group at church where I see this struggle in their lives daily.  I will be sharing your response with them to hopefully help them understand they don’t have to choose this worldly “rite of passage”.  If you can give me a link to more information on helping young people set boundaries in premarital relationships, I would appreciate it.

      • Anonymous

        Hello AJ,

        Thanks for you comment on CitizenLink! Dating/courtship is a tough area to address, because so many families view this process differently – what’s appropriate and what’s not. But I’d rather err on the side of caution than regret when it comes to relationships.

        Here are some homepages (with lots of other topics, links) you might like to explore for a basic foundation and Biblical perspective:

        Abstinence Education

        God’s Design for Sexuality

        Homosexuality and Gender Issues

        Pornography and Obscenity

        Before the Talk – Dealing with Our Past – Abstinence Education …
        Quick Guide: Articles on Healthy Sexuality – Abstinence Education …Dear Parents: Let’s Talk about Doing

        Specifically regarding boundaries within the context of dating/courtship, it’s good to have parents or a strong Christian mentor couple offering guidance and accountability. They will see things that the dating/courting couple will never see in the ‘fog’ during the initial stage of infatuation and emotional interest. Here are a few parameters I set with my own teen daughter when she was dating a young man:
        >> Talk and communicate. Where do you think God is calling you? Where are your giftings and talents? How do you feel about church? What makes you happy and what drives you nuts? How’s your relationship with your parents – can you respect them and model your life closely to theirs? What do you want to do differently? And the list goes on, and on … You get the picture.

        >> Physical Contact – I wouldn’t hold hands until you have been together for a little while and think there’s potential for this person to be a good spouse for you. Don’t date for recreational purposes “for the fun of it” – this is a waste of time, energy and it often leads to unwanted sexual involvement and broken hearts. When you date, be of an age where you are close enough to get married in two or three years (this often means not dating/courting seriously until they are at least 17 or 18, depending on the parents’ view in this area).

        Hugs should be kept brief and not full-body squeezes. A good-bye hug is fine, but full-frontal body contact will only arouse both parties, especially young men. The book, “Hooked,” by the Medical Institute talks about the release of bonding hormone, Oxytocin, when women are hugged for more than 20 seconds or so. This lowers inhibitions and the ability to think rationally, and it begins to form emotional-physical bonds in the brain. This is for marriage permanence, not for dating.

        Kissing – I wouldn’t do it, honestly, before I was married. If I had to live my teen years over again, I’d avoid it completely. Do I sound like a pilgrim? Maybe, but I’ve been there and I know that kissing sexually arouses both males and females, alike. This is for marriage – the beginning of foreplay, prior to having sexual intercourse. This is not for the dating/courtship realm. I warn guys and gals about this all the time – kissing will not only start the “train’s engine,” it will make the train leave the station, and then you are left with the frustrating task of stopping what your biological system and brain are telling your body to do! God made us this way, and nothing is wrong with us because these things happen. But our behavior needs to be such that it does not become sexually arousing outside of marriage. My daughter is still saving her first kiss for the marriage altar – and I think that’s to be commended! I hope she succeeds.

        >>Dates/Courtship – Get to know each others’ families. Play games, have dinner, communicate and see how your guy or gal treats their parents – it’s how they will treat you, most likely. And you get to see the people who helped “form” your friend and “shape” his or her character.

        Never be alone in bedrooms. Don’t tempt trouble. Remain in open areas that are public, like the kitchen, living room … wherever you are near others. Don’t be alone in a house together – instead, to to the mall, a coffee shop or take a walk. Remember, communication is 95% of a good relationship, and the best sex is within a marriage where there is good communication. Sex is not the objective of a relationship or marriage – it’s the byproduct of a healthy marriage.

        The media puts sex on steroids, but really it’s not the end-all and be-all of marriage. It’s fun for a time and it bonds husband and wife, but it’s nothing that can support the weight of a relationship and marriage, especially long-term.

        I’ve said enough for now … I’ll try to blog on this in the near future!


        • AJ

           Thanks so much, Chad!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Chinaman. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    How much money will we pour into treating symptoms – or the fruit – of poor behavior and bad choices until we start facing the root cause: behavior. Good choices, particularly with sexuality among teens and young adults, are difficult to make. We need to make up our minds and set appropriate boundaries far in advance of the first date.

    And true love cares for the well-being of the other person, not your own gratification or pleasure. True love is sacrificial. But those who know how to truly love someone else, also know that love reciprocates – or comes back to you.

    Today, having casual sex – condom or no condom – is like playing Russian Roulette. Eventually, if not the first time, you’ll pay the price. And HIV infection is not the price anyone wants to pay.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Anonymous

    Hi, Steve!

    Whoa, is marriage ‘just a piece of paper’? Or is it more?

    I have a hunch that you and I will have agree to disagree on this, but here are some of my thoughts on marriage (and you can see more about Focus on the Family’s view on marriage and same-sex marriages here http://www.citizenlink.com/2010/06/15/focus-on-the-familys-position-statement-on-same-sex-marriage-and-civil-unions/ ).

    This is a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman to remain faithful, regardless the circumstances, illnesses or whatever life brings. Basically, they are saying, “I will love you and be committed to you forever.” They make this oath or covenant before their friends, family and God – and on paper, for state and federal legal records.

    The “paper” or marriage license tells the state and federal governments that two responsible people (hopefully this is the majority of those who have a sincere marriage ceremony) have decided to work as a team, raise a family and contribute to society. Marriage is the basic building blog – the cornerstone, if you will – of societal growth and stability. Without healthy marriages, our society and nation is crippled. Indeed, this is a battle we are fighting today. In the past, governments have honored marriage as a stabilizing factor, and government has given married couples more responsibility along with more privileges.

    Back to your comparison, living together is not the equivalent of a committed marriage, as either person can leave the relationship at will – without any responsibility or repercussions. This is not true love or true commitment, and it’s fornication or sexual sin in God’s eyes, according to the Bible. So, yes, the marriage license  – or ‘piece of paper,’ as you call it – symbolizes an important and enduring relationship, which is foundational to both family and society.

    As always, good to hear your challenges, Steve!

  • susan

    Thank you for making the truth about the real health risks of HIV available.
    Why Canada’s medical system continues to ignore the facts, on one hand, 
    while governments continue to promote homosexuality and promiscuity in our public schools ignoring the health riskson the other is beyond me.  Do our children not have a right to the truth?

    Just one of the deceptions of our age I guess

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