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J Adolesc Health. 2013 Jun;52(6):773-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.11.011. Epub 2013 Jan 27.

Homelessness experiences, sexual orientation, and sexual risk taking among high school students in Los Angeles.

Author information

1
School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90015, USA. ericr@usc.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Prior studies reported homeless adolescents engage in more sexual risk than their housed peers. However, these comparisons are typically made post hoc by comparing homeless adolescent community-based samples with high school probability samples. This study uses a random sample of high school students to examine homelessness experiences and sexual risk behaviors.

METHODS:

A supplemental survey to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey containing questions regarding homelessness and sexual health was administered to Los Angeles high school students (N = 1,839). Multivariate logistic regressions assessed the associations between demographics, past year homelessness experiences (i.e., place of nighttime residence), and being sexually active and condom use at last intercourse.

RESULTS:

Homelessness experiences consisted of staying in a shelter (10.4%), a public place (10.1%), and with a stranger (5.6%). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ), younger, and male adolescents were more likely to experience homelessness. LGBTQ adolescents were also more likely to report staying with a stranger and less likely to report staying in a shelter. Compared to adolescents who stayed in shelters, adolescents who stayed with strangers and in public places were more likely to engage in unprotected sex at last intercourse.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adolescents who report sexual activity and sexual risk taking are more likely to report homelessness experiences. With regard to sexual health, staying with strangers could be a particularly risky form of homelessness; LGBTQ and black adolescents are more likely to experience this form of homelessness. Efforts to reduce homelessness and sexual risk-taking need to recognize the specific vulnerabilities faced by these populations.

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PMID:
23360897
PMCID:
PMC3664104
DOI:
10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.11.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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