263787 Online sexual solicitation and partner seeking in relation to sex risk behavior among adolescents

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Hailey Winetrobe, MPH, CHES , School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Eric Rice, PhD , School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Ian W. Holloway, MSW, MPH , School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Jorge Montoya, PhD , President and CEO, Sentient Research, West Covina, CA
Aaron Plant, MPH , Research, Sentient Research, West Covina, CA
Timothy Kordic, MA , Health Education Programs, HIV/AIDS Prevention Unit, Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles, CA
Background: To the best of our knowledge, no studies utilizing a probability sample of adolescents across sexual orientations have investigated rates of online sex partner solicitation and seeking and associations with risky sex behavior. Methods: We assessed a probability sample of Los Angeles Unified School District public high school students. Supplemental questionnaires were administered concurrently with the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). Results: With a response rate of 88% of students who completed the YRBS, 1,839 high school students 12-18 years old completed the supplemental questionnaire. Logistic regression models assessed associations between demographics, use of social networking websites, and being approached online for sex, seeking sex partners online, having sex with online partners, and using condoms with those partners. Five percent of high school students used the internet to seek sex partners; 17% were approached online for sex. Those who were approached or sought sex partners online were more likely to have sex with internet-met partners (OR: 2.71, p<0.001; OR: 11.44; p<0.001). Compared to their heterosexual peers, non-heterosexual high school students were five times more likely to seek sex partners online (OR: 5.00, p<0.001 ) and were over four times (OR: 4.40, p<0.05) as likely to have unprotected sex at last intercourse with an internet-met sex partner. Conclusions: The internet is another forum for adolescents to meet potential sex partners. However, engaging in unprotected sex with partners puts adolescents at risk for HIV or other sexually transmitted infections. Social networking websites represent prime venues for adolescent-targeted sexual health programs.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. To identify means of collecting large probability samples of adolescents. 2. To discuss the implications of adolescent internet and sexual behaviors, across sexual orientations. 3. To assess adolescent risk behaviors to promote sexual health prevention and intervention programming.

Keywords: Adolescents, Internet

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a Project Specialist on a study investigating HIV prevention among homeless youth, and have been working in adolescent and young adult sexual health for six years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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