Bisexual male teens exhibit riskiest sexual behavior
Sexual health disparities emerge early in life and vary by sexual orientation and behaviors. Male teens who identify themselves as bisexual exhibit the riskiest sexual behaviors of all sexual orientations, according to study findings in the American Journal of Public Health.
The rate of HIV/AIDS infection among young men who have sex with men has increased in recent years. Bethany G. Everett, PhD, of the University of Illinois, Chicago, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2005 and 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys to understand what factors lead to risk-taking behaviors among sexual minorities.
Data were pooled from Boston, Chicago, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New York City, Vermont and Rhode Island. Respondents who reported being “unsure” of their sexual orientation were excluded. Eligible study participants (n=13,174) were aged 12 to 18 years.
Researchers found that participants who identified as bisexual reported a significantly younger mean age (12.92 years) when they first had sexual intercourse, a higher mean number of sex partners (3.32) and a higher prevalence of concurrent relationships (32.3%) compared with heterosexual young men who have sex with women (MSW.)
Heterosexual young MSM/W (39.27%), bisexual (50.71%) and gay (54.47%) study participants had a higher prevalence of not using a condom during their last sexual encounter. Twenty-four percent of sexual minorities reported being involved in forced sex vs. 6% of heterosexual young MSW. Increased odds of reporting forced sex was associated with all sexual minorities.
Researchers examined the relationship between the study’s sexually transmitted infections risk determinants and STI risk behaviors. They found that risk behavior determinants were associated with risk behaviors, but they did not explain differences by sexual orientation.
“These results demonstrate that, depending on the measure used to define sexual minority status, researchers may come to different conclusions that hinder the development of targeted and effective public health interventions. Future research on adolescent sexual health disparities should incorporate both measures of sexual orientation identity and sexual behavior whenever possible. Notably, our results highlight the need for more work to understand and eliminate elevated STI risk among bisexual-identified adolescent males,” researchers concluded.
Disclosure: Researchers reported no relevant financial disclosures.