Objectives: We explored HIV risk behaviors, sexual orientation, and sexual abuse among 5 school-based cohorts in Seattle, Wash (SEA95 and SEA99:N=7477 and N=6590), and British Columbia (BC92, BC98, and BC03 [weighted]: N=239975, N=281576, and N=265132).
Methods: An HIV risk scale of 7 items assessed risky sexual behaviors and injection drug use. Self-identified sexual orientation included heterosexual, bisexual, gay/lesbian, and, in British Columbia only, mostly heterosexual. Analyses of covariance were conducted separately by gender and were adjusted for age and sexual abuse when comparing means.
Results: Gay/lesbian and bisexual adolescents had higher mean age-adjusted risk scores compared with heterosexual and mostly heterosexual adolescents. After we controlled for sexual abuse history, mean scores were 2 to 4 times higher among abused students than among nonabused students in each sexual orientation group. Age/abuse-adjusted models better explained the variance in risk scores (R(2)=0.10-0.31), but sexual orientation remained an independent predictor.
Conclusion: Sexual minority adolescents who attended school reported higher HIV risk behaviors, and higher prevalence of sexual victimization may partially explain these risks.