The CDC has released the first comprehensive study of HIV-related risk behaviors among male high school students.
A new report from the CDC indicates gay and bisexual young men are only having slightly more sex than their straight peers, but are putting themselves at much higher risk for HIV.
The first comprehensive study on HIV-related risk behaviors among straight, gay and bisexual male high school students was presented at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa.
Percentage of male students who:
* Ever had sexual intercourse (51% of gay/bisexuals, 41% of heterosexuals).
* Were currently sexually active (35% of gay/bisexuals, 30% of heterosexuals).
* Had sexual intercourse with four or more partners (15% of gay/bisexuals, 11% of heterosexuals).
* Used a condom the last time they had sex (48% of sexually active gay/bisexuals, 58% of sexually active heterosexuals).
Lower condom usage rate, coupled with HIV rates that are 57 times higher among men who have sex with men, means gay/bi teens are much more likely to contract HIV, researchers say.
Gay teens are also less likely to receive relevant information about safer sex practices: Only 20 states require comprehensive sex ed that goes beyond vaginal intercourse.
And the ease of transmitting the virus via anal sex is also a culprit: “The transmission risk for receptive anal sex is 17 times higher than [for] vaginal sex,” says Dr. Laura Kann of the CDC’s School-Based Surveillance Branch.
In 2014, young men who have sex with men accounted for 80% of new HIV infection rates among those ages 13 to 19. (That’s more than 1,800 new diagnoses.)
“Although most HIV infections occur after high school, it is critical to help teens establish behaviors today that will protect their health now and in the future,” said Jonathan Mermin of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD & TB Prevention.
The report also indicated higher use of intravenous drugs among gay teens—about 10% versus less than 2% of heterosexual males in the same age group. Their use of other drugs was significantly higher as well.
* Heroin: eight times more likely
* Methamphetamines: six times more likely
* Cocaine: three times more likely
* Abuse of prescription drugs: two times as likely
Use of narcotics, says the CDC, can lead to poor decisions about sexual health and may be fueled by depression, isolation and anxiety.
It’s worth noting that while statistics for the report were taken from the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBS), some states, like Georgia, don’t allow students to answer questions about their sexual behavior and HIV.
Georgia, which mandates that sex education emphasize abstinence until marriage, has the fifth highest HIV rate in the nation.
This article was originally published on New Now Next. Read the original article.