Open Access Open Badges Research article

Substance use, risky sexual behaviors, and their associations in a Chinese sample of senior high school students

Shenghui Li12*, Hong Huang23*, Gang Xu1, Yong Cai1, Fengrong Huang2 and Xiuxia Ye2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Public Health affiliated with Shangai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, 227 South Chongqing Road, Shangai, People’s Republic of China

2 MOE - Shangai Key Laboratory of Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shangai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shangai, People’s Republic of China

3 Shangai Municipal Health Bureau, 227 South Chongqing Road, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:295  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-295

Published: 4 April 2013



Given the higher prevalence of risky sexual behaviors and substance use, adolescents and youths are at risk for HIV. Despite its importance, however, to the best of our knowledge, there are only a few researches on risky behaviors in Chinese adolescents/youths. The present study aimed to describe the prevalence of sexual and substance use behaviors among a Chinese sample of senior high school students. And more specifically, the associations of socio-demographic factors and substance use with risky sexual behaviors were examined in the sample.


A cross-sectional study was conducted in 10 senior high schools. A total of 2668 senior high school students aged 15.17 to 23.42 years participated in the survey. A self-administrated questionnaire was used to collect information on sexual and substance use behaviors.


The percentages of students who ever had sexual intercourse in lifetime or during last three months were 7.0% and 5.1%, respectively. Among the participants with sexual intercourse during last three months, 42.1% ever had unprotected sexual intercourse and 49.4% had intercourse with two or more partners. Multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that cigarette smoke and illicit drug use were related to unprotected sexual intercourse (defined as “sexual intercourse without condom use”) and younger age of first sexual intercourse was related to multiple-partner sexual intercourse.


HIV/sexual transmitted infection (STI) health education and prevention are necessary among the Chinese adolescents, particularly among those adolescents with experience of sexual intercourse and/or substance use, which has a long-term beneficial to the control of HIV/STI in China.

HIV/STI; Sexual behavior; Substance use; Adolescent; China