Predictors of Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing Among Sexually Active Homeless Youth
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We examined the association between sexual risk behaviors and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing in a sample of homeless youth. Of 261 youth interviewed, 50% had been sexually active in the past 3 months. Gender variation in sexual behaviors and risk were found. Boys were more likely than girls to engage in anal sex (46% vs. 15%), to have 3 or more sexual partners (46% vs. 17%) and to engage in anonymous sex (38% vs. 21%). Girls were less likely to use condoms consistently and more likely to engage in sex with a partner suspected of having an STI (20% vs. 4%). In the past 3 months, the STI testing rates were similar for boys and girls (46%). However, girls were more likely to have positive STI results (46% vs. 9%). In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, the only variable that was an independent predictor of STI testing was having either gotten someone or having become pregnant in the past 3 months. High-risk sexual behaviors did not predict STI testing in our sample. Outreach programs are needed that target sexually active homeless youth for early STI testing and treatment.
KEY WORDS:homeless youth sexual behaviors STI testing.
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