Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 159-177

First online:

HIV Risk Among Homosexual, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Male and Female Youths

  • Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus
  • , William D. Marelich
  • , Shobha Srinivasan

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Variations in sexual risk acts and thesocial-cognitive mediators of sexual acts were examinedamong young homosexual, bisexual, and heterosexual malesand females (N = 478; 13-21 Years of age) from four community-based agencies in New York City, SanFrancisco, and Los Angeles (29% African American, 36%Latino, 36% White/other). The prevalence and frequencyof sexual risk acts varied by gender but were similar across youth of different sexualorientations, ethnicities, and ages. Condom use and thesocial-cognitive mediators of risk varied by sexualorientation and gender. Homosexual youths reported a gap between their positive attitudes toward HIVprevention and their skills to implement safer sex acts,particularly under social pressure. Bisexual youthsappeared at greatest risk; their reports of sexual risk were the highest, yet their perceived riskfor HIV was relatively low and skills and knowledge weremoderate (relative to their peers). Heterosexual youthsappear at high risk for HIV based on reports of low rates of condom use and HIV-relatedbeliefs and attitudes. However, heterosexual youthsdemonstrated the highestlevelofcondom skills. The numberofsexual partners was not associated with anyHIV-related social cognitive mediator, suggesting thatalternative theoretical models must be proposed forpartner selection. Longitudinal research with similarsubgroups of youths is needed.