Bisexual male teens report high levels of AIDS-related risk behavior

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – The results of a population-based study of US male high school students reveal that bisexual adolescents engage in especially high levels of AIDS-related risk behavior compared with homosexual and heterosexual students.

Dr. Carol Goodenow, from the Massachusetts Department of Education, Malden, and colleagues collected data for 3065 heterosexual male high school students, 94 male homosexual students and 108 bisexual male students.

These students had completed the 1995, 1997, or 1999 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey, according to the report in the February issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Bisexual students were more likely to have multiple sexual partners, engage in unprotected intercourse, have sexually transmitted diseases, and use injection drugs, the researchers found.

AIDS education and instruction in the use of condoms was associated with lower AIDS-related risk. However, "the three groups of young men differed significantly in terms of reporting having ever received such instruction," with homosexual and bisexual young men reporting less educational instruction, Dr. Goodenow's team reports.

Dr. Goodenow and colleagues conclude that "this study provides the best available population-based behavioral risk data on adolescent men who have sex with men…High AIDS-related risk rates among bisexually active youths point to the urgent need for prevention programs addressing these youths' specific concerns."

"Both school and community prevention programs have the potential for lowering risk behavior. It is critical that such programs be strengthened and that their messages be clearly relevant to the needs and choices faced by all sexually active youths," they stress.

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