Purpose: To compare sexual behavior in adolescents with a physical handicap or a chronic illness (HCI, n = 604) to a healthy group (HG, n = 7,332).
Methods: Data drawn from a French national health survey carried out among 7,936 adolescents (mean age = 16.2 years) were used. A self-report questionnaire concerning health behavior, sexual behavior, and chronic illness was used in 136 public secondary schools. HCI and HG groups were compared on reported sexual behavior as well as on information (on sexuality, AIDS, and pregnancy) given by the parents. Logistic regression was performed for boys and girls to explore the relationship of health status (HCI or HG) to sexual intercourse, adjusted for sociodemographic variables.
Results: Fifty-two percent of HCI boys and 38% of HCI girls reported sexual intercourse (vs. 42% of HG boys and 28% of HG girls). The HCI girls reported more often than HG girls changing partners, pregnancy, and use of oral contraceptives. The HCI boys reported more often than HG boys receiving information on sexuality from their parents.
Conclusions: French HCI adolescents were found to be at high risk for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STD).