The findings and conclusions in these presentations have not been formally disseminated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 11:00 AM

Same-sex sexual behavior and sexual risk behaviors among in-school youth in New York City: representative data from the 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey

Preeti Pathela, STD Control, New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, 125 Worth Street, Room 207, CN 73, New York, NY, USA and Julia A. Schillinger, Bureau of Sexually Transmitted Disease Control, NYC DOHMH / Division of STD Prevention, CDC, 125 Worth St., Room 207, CN-73, New York, NY, USA.

Adults with male and female sex partners have riskier sexual behaviors than those with opposite-sex partners. Little is known about the prevalence of same-sex partners and associated sexual risk-taking among adolescents; to maximize samples, those reporting partners of both sexes and only same-sex partners have often been combined.

We describe sex of partners, demographics, sexual risk behaviors, and sexual identity in a population-based sample of in-school adolescents.

Sexually experienced respondents to the 2005 NYC Youth Risk Behavior Survey who reported the sex of lifetime sexual contacts were categorized into mutually exclusive heterosexual (only opposite-sex partners), homosexual (only same-sex partners), and bisexual (same- and opposite-sex partners) subgroups. Prevalence of sex of partner(s) and risk behaviors was estimated. Identity distribution (straight, gay/lesbian, bisexual, unsure) was examined.

Of 1881 males and 1705 females, equal numbers of males (~3%) and females (~3%) reported homosexual behavior, but more females than males reported bisexual behavior (9% vs. 3%, p<.001). More bisexual (83%) than heterosexual (46%, p=0.0003) and homosexual (28%, p<0.0001) males reported >2 partners in 3 months. Most bisexual males (72%) reported no condom use at last sex, versus 21% heterosexual and 23% homosexual males. Homosexual males and females had a lower prevalence of multiple lifetime partners, intimate partner violence history, and forced sex history than bisexuals or heterosexuals. Many homosexual/bisexual adolescents (32% of males, 40% of females) self-identified as straight.

Of NYC adolescents, 18% report a same-sex partner, a higher estimate than other published rates. Given a substantial community prevalence of STD, bisexual youth exhibit behaviors that place them at high risk.

Pediatricians/school health providers must inquire about behaviors, not identity, to assess STD/HIV risk. Schools should provide referral information for STD/HIV screening. Health education should be appropriate for youth with same-sex partners. The evolution of sexual risk-taking among exclusively homosexual adolescents is of interest.