HIV risk, substance use, and suicidal behaviors among Asian American lesbian and bisexual women

AIDS Educ Prev. 2012 Dec;24(6):549-63. doi: 10.1521/aeap.2012.24.6.549.


The authors examined the association between lesbian/bisexual identity and three risky health behaviors (HIV risk, substance use, and suicidal behaviors) in a sample of Asian American women. This cross-sectional study was designed to investigate the prevalence of HIV risk behaviors and mental health functioning among unmarried Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese women ages 18 to 35 who are children of immigrants (N = 701), using computer-assisted survey interviews (CASI). Approximately one out of five Asian American women in the sample identified themselves as a lesbian and bisexual woman (18%). Overall, Asian American lesbian and bisexual women reported higher proportions of risky health behaviors than did their exclusively heterosexual counterparts. The odds of engaging in HIV risk behaviors, using substances, and experiencing suicidal ideation were two to three times higher for lesbian and bisexual women than for exclusively heterosexual women. These findings suggest that rigorous screening is necessary for identifying women in this lesbian/bisexual subgroup in order to provide them with better assessment and services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian / psychology
  • Asian / statistics & numerical data*
  • Bisexuality / psychology
  • Bisexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • China / ethnology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / etiology
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Health Behavior
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Female / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Korea / ethnology
  • Male
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Vietnam / ethnology
  • Young Adult