, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 381-391

Sexual practices of heterosexual Asian-American young adults: Implications for risk of HIV infection

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Epidemiologic patterns of reported AIDS cases suggest that at present Asian Americans in the United States are an ethnic minority group at lower risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection than blacks, Hispanics, or whites. Yet little is known empirically about the sexual behaviors of Asian Americans. The present study explores rates of sexual activity and patterns of sexual behavior in a sample of young, unmarried, heterosexual Asian Americans. Results suggest that previously reported sexual conservatism within this ethnic group may be limited to the initiation of sexual activity. Once sexually active, behaviors appear to be similar to their non-Asian counterparts and facilitative of HIV infection should the virus become widely distributed within the young, heterosexual population. This underscores the need for HIV prevention interventions directed toward this ethnic minority group despite current low rates of HIV infection.

This work was partially supported by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (R01MH42584-02; R01MH44345-01A1), funds from the California State University Northridge Foundation to the first author, a USPHS Biomedical Grant from the University of California and a National Center for Health Services Research and Health Care Technology Assessment Award from the RAND Corporation (T32 HS 00007) to the second author, and an NIMH Minority Access to Research Careers Training Award (5T 34 MH16891) to Dr. John Jung, California State University Long Beach.