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Study: Fewer engage in HIV-risk behaviors

The number of Americans who practice behaviors that put them at risk for HIV infection has declined significantly, federal health officials reported Thursday.

The ranks of those engaging in a risky sexual or drug-related behavior dropped from 13 percent of men and 11 percent of women in 2002 to 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively, in 2010, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Generally, these are behaviors that are studied in higher- risk populations, but by looking in the household population we can get a better sense of the level of risk that may exist in the general population," said report author Anjani Chandra, a health scientist at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

Some of the risk factors considered were gay and bisexual sex, illicit drug use and having several sexual partners or a partner who injects illegal drugs, she said.

The reasons for the decline in risk behaviors is not clear, Chandra said. Some of the public health messages might be getting through. It also could be that people are reluctant to disclose that they engage in risky behaviors, she said. -- HealthDay

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