October 27, 2010
Almost one in 10 sexually active New York City high school students have had at least one same-sex partner, and males with both same-sex and opposite-sex partners reported the lowest levels of condom use, according to a new analysis of the 2005-2007 New York City Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. The city YRBS was administered to a representative sample of city high schools.
Of 17,220 students surveyed, 7,261 reported having had sexual intercourse. Among them, the proportion of males and females who reported only same-sex partners was identical, 3.2 percent. Of sexually active teens, 9.3 percent reported having at least one same-sex partner. Fewer males than females reported partners of both genders (3.7 percent vs. 8.7 percent; P<0.001). Among teens with at least one same-sex partner, 38.9 self-identified as "heterosexual or straight." Of males, 93.1 percent reported only opposite-sex partners, compared with 88.1 percent of females.
Participants reporting partners of both genders also indicated higher-than-average rates of risky sex, such as not using a condom, and higher rates of partner violence and forced sex. Of girls with partners of both genders, 35.8 percent experienced dating violence in the previous year, as did 34.8 percent of males with male and female partners.
Condom use during most recent sex was reported by 79.8 percent of males with only female partners, compared with 62.3 percent of males with only male partners and 44.1 percent of males with partners of both sexes.
"It has been shown in the literature that students who have both male and female partners have a lot of adverse health problems," said Dr. Susan Blank, assistant commissioner of the city health department and head of its STD prevention efforts. The data are a reminder that "our public health prevention messages really need to look at behavior, not identity," she said.
The full report, "Sexual Behaviors and Sexual Violence: Adolescents with Opposite-, Same-, or Both-Sex Partners," was published in Pediatrics (doi:10.1542/peds.2010-0396).
10.25.2010; Karen Matthews
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