chapter  21
26 Pages

Safer Sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections From a Relationship Perspective

BySeth M. Noar, Rick S. Zimmerman, Katherine A. Atwood

Although being in a close relationship has many social and emotional benefits, there is growing evidence that close relationships may be risky in terms of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV. Specifically, there is significant evidence that adolescents and young adults are inadvertently putting themselves at risk within the context of their close relationships. Data supporting this hypothesis are reviewed within three areas of research: early initiation of first sexual intercourse, condom use and partner risk assessment, and actual STI incidence. Although there are considerable complexities with regard to the association between close (and casual) relationships and STI risk, we conclude from the literature reviewed that, for adolescents and young adults, close relationships are often risky with regard to STIs. Implications of this review are discussed, and a number of future lines of research are offered.