Validity of Self-reported Sexual Behavior Among Adolescents: Where Do We Go from Here?

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Adolescents have high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Adolescents consuming alcohol and using drugs have markedly greater HIV/STI risk and are a priority population for intervention. Accurate measurement of sexual risk behavior is critical for understanding individual’s risk for HIV/STI, transmission dynamics of HIV/STI, and evaluating the efficacy of interventions designed reduce HIV/STI risk. However, significant challenges to accurately measuring adolescents’ self-reported sexual behavior are well-documented. Recent advances in microbiology, such as the use of less invasive specimen collection for DNA assays, can assist researchers in more accurately measuring adolescents’ sexual risk behavior. However, the majority of studies of adolescents’ sexual risk rely solely on self-reported behavior; therefore, methods to improve the validity of adolescents’ self-reported sexual behavior are needed. In addition, integrating biologic measures to complement self-reported measures are recommended, when appropriate and feasible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-217
Number of pages3
JournalAIDS and Behavior
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Adolescents
  • Biological markers
  • Self-report
  • Sexual risk behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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