There were also significant variations based on race and income level, they reported.
Sixteen percent of young black men ages 15 to 24 reported at least one HIV risk-related sexual behavior, compared with 8.7 percent of Hispanic men and 6.5 percent of young white men. Poorer men were also more likely to engage in risky behaviors.
The HIV risk in households is not something one usually thinks about when one thinks about HIV risk, Chandra said.
"In household populations, where you may think these behaviors are nonexistent or very rare, they are occurring and they may be placing people at risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases," Chandra said. "Just focusing on high-risk populations may not take care of the concerns that we have."
Dr. Sten Vermund, director of the Institute of Global Health at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, said that the data used was "a highly valid sample of the American population."
Both sexual and drug-related risk behaviors declined in the study period, and that is a positive trend, he said.
"Risk behaviors remain high and the likelihood of encountering an HIV-infected person has never been higher," Vermund noted. "Nonetheless, there is a strong indication that prevention programs are working or cultural norms are shifting, or both."
Philip Alcabes, an associate professor in the School of Health Sciences at Hunter College/City University of New York, is critical of the report as another example of how the government still avoids the real problem of HIV.
"What a waste of time and taxpayer dollars," he said. "Having failed to advocate for structural changes that would actually reduce risk of HIV acquisition and having failed to implement widespread, easily accessible syringe exchange programs, federal agencies instead spen
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