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Am J Public Health. 1999 December; 89(12): 1841–1846.
PMCID: PMC1509027

Sexual and drug-use risk factors for HIV and STDs: a comparison of women with and without bisexual experiences.


OBJECTIVES: This study was done to compare risk factors for HIV/STDs in women who reported having had sex with both men and women and women who reported having had sex with men only. METHODS: Female participants in a multisite, randomized HIV/STD prevention study in the Seattle area reported both having had sex with a man in the 3 months before and having at least 1 risk factor for HIV/STDs during the year before the study. Of these women, 38% who reported ever having had sex with a woman were compared with those who reported having had sex with men only. RESULTS: Women who had had sex with both men and women were more likely than women who had had sex with men only to report drug use in the 3 months before the study, a greater lifetime number of male partners, a sex partner who had had sex with a prostitute, an earlier age at sexual debut, and forced sexual contact (P < .01 for all comparisons). Women who had had sex with both men and women had a mean of 3.2 of these 5 risk factors, vs 2.1 among women who had had sex with men only (P < .001). CONCLUSION: Women who had had sex with both men and women were more likely than women who had had sex with men only to engage in multiple risk behaviors. Health workers should be aware of bisexual experience among women, since this may be a marker for multiple risk behaviors for HIV/STDs.

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Selected References

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