Sexual attraction, identity, and behavior among young sexual-minority males in the United States
HIV incidence is increasing among 13—24 year old US men who have sex with men. This is an age of sexual development and transition to risk behaviors, which should be taken into account in HIV prevention for young sexual-minority males (YSMM). Studies that use a multi-dimensional definition of sexual orientation and include YSMM before sexual debut can inform these efforts. We explored three dimensions of sexual orientation – attraction, identity, and behavior – for YSMM.
We used nationally representative data from the combined 2002, and 2006–2010 cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth for 648 males aged 15—24 who reported any same-sex attraction, identity (gay/bisexual/don’t know), or behavior. We described combinations of the dimensions. Prevalence ratios (PR) described associations between sociodemographics (age, race/ethnicity, religiosity, poverty, residential location) and each dimension.
Only nineteen percent of YSMM reported same-sex attraction, identity, and behavior. Fifty-nine percent reported same-sex identities and/or attractions but no same-sex behavior, and 23% identified as heterosexual and reported same-sex behavior. Compared to YSMM for whom religion is very important: those who report religion as somewhat (PR=1.25, 95% CI=1.06–1.46), or not important (PR=1.33, 95% CI=1.11–1.60) were more likely to report same-sex attraction. No other associations were significant.
There is diversity in YSMM’s sexual attraction, identity, and behavior, suggesting possible benefit of tailoring HIV prevention strategies for subgroups, such as those not yet engaged in same-sex behavior and those who identify as heterosexual.
Learning Areas:Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe the intersections of three sexual orientation dimensions (attraction, identity, and behavior) for sexual minority males aged 15-24 in the US. Assess associations between demographic characteristics and sexual orientation dimensions for sexual minority males aged 15-24 in the US. Discuss the implications of study findings for HIV prevention programming and strategies for different subgroups of young sexual minority males in the US.
Keyword(s): Sexuality, Youth
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Fasula has been a social scientist at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Division of HIV/AIDS for 9 years. Her research expertise includes HIV prevention and operational research, sexual health for youth and young MSM, sexual health equity, and social aspects of sexuality.
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.