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Publication date: 
August 29, 2016


We applied the Integrative Model of Behavioral Prediction to analyze factors associated with risky sexual behaviors for adolescent students living in the poorest segments in Costa Rica.


We used data from a school-based knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors survey from the poorest districts of Costa Rica, collected for Salud Mesoamerica Initiative. We analyzed responses of 919 male and female students (12–19 years old) to determine factors associated with sexual intercourse and condom use.


One of every four students reported being sexually active. Students that reported being sexually active were more likely to consume excessive alcohol (OR 3.04 [95 % CI 1.94–4.79]). While 88.0 % [95 % CI 73.5–95.1] of sexually active adolescents said they would use a condom the next time they have sex, only 53.1 % [95 % CI 39.3–66.5] reported condom use the last time. Non-condom-users felt purchasing condoms was uncomfortable (OR 0.34 [95 % CI 0.12–0.93]).


Poor adolescents in Costa Rica begin sexual activities early and undertake behaviors that increase their risk for unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. We found the urgent need to address alcohol abuse, and recognize gender differences in youth health programs.


Rios-Zertuche D, Cuchilla J, Zúñiga-Brenes P, Hernández B, Jara P, Mokdad AH, Iriarte E. Alcohol abuse and other factors associated with risky sexual behaviors among adolescent students from the poorest areas in Costa RicaInternational Journal of Public Health. 29 Aug 2017; 62: 271. doi:10.1007/s00038-016-0859-z