Change over time: High school students' behaviours and beliefs, 1992 to 1997

D. Rosenthal, A. Smith, J. Lindsay

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6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents findings from national surveys of Year 10 and Year 12 high school students conducted in 1992 and 1997. In both surveys, information was sought about students' sexual practices, attitudes, and knowledge, enabling change over time to be documented. The results provide an encouraging picture for HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in Australia. Most of the pre-1992 gains have been sustained five years later. Levels of knowledge about HIV/AIDS remain high, and the majority of students continue to feel confident in communicating about sex and discussing condoms with their partners. The number of young people having sex was unchanged in the five- year period between surveys, but there is evidence that a cultural change in the direction of safer sex practices continues. Students in 1997 reported greater use of condoms and fewer partners than did their 1992 peers. In both surveys, most students reported non-discriminatory attitudes, although the 1997 students were, on the whole, more tolerant than those surveyed in 1992. This comparative study suggests that prevention education efforts have been effective and continue to be so. Nevertheless, some students report lack of confidence in dealing with sex and condoms, and poor communication skills, as well as inappropriate reasons for their perceived low risk of infection. These suggest that education efforts must be maintained so that the gains made over the past five years can be supplemented by further gains in the next five-year period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-13
Number of pages8
JournalVenereology : official publication of the National Venereology Council of Australia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1998

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