Human Papillomavirus-Associated Sexual Risks Among High School Students in the U.S.: Does Sexual Orientation Play a Role?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We examined the association between sexual orientation and human papillomavirus (HPV)-related risky sexual behaviors among high school students in the U.S. We used the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a three-stage cluster sample, nationally representative, cross-sectional study. Participants were sexually active students (Grades 9-12) in public, private, and Catholic schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia (n = 5,958). Sexual orientation dimensions were: sexual self-identity (heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and not sure) and sex of sexual contacts. HPV-associated risky sexual risk behaviors selected a priori were early sexual debut (≤ 12 or  ≥ 13 years old) and number of lifetime partners (≥ 2 or  ≥ 4). Separate multiple logistic regression analyses estimated association between sexual orientation and sex of sexual contacts, and HPV-associated risky sexual behaviors. Among the 5,958 high school students, a quarter had ≥ 4, and two-thirds had ≥ 2 sexual partners. Students who self-identified as bisexual (aOR = 2.43, 99% CI 1.19-4.98) or "not sure" (aOR = 4.56, 99% CI 2.54-8.17) were more likely to have sexual debut before 13 years. Similarly, students whose sexual contacts were adolescent females who had sex with females and males were more likely to have sexual debut before they turned 13 years of age (aOR = 3.46, 99% CI 1.83-6.48), or had ≥ 4 sexual partners (aOR = 2.66, 99% CI 1.74-4.08), or had ≥ 2 sexual partners (aOR = 3.09, 99% CI 1.91-5.00). In conclusion, HPV-associated risky sexual behavior is prevalent among high school students, especially sexual minorities. Interventions tailored to this population could increase HPV vaccine uptake and prevent future HPV-associated cancers and other negative outcomes.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pham, VT; Adjei Boakye, E; Simpson, MC; Van Phu Bui, Q; Olomukoro, SI; Zand, DH; Halloran, DR; Osazuwa-Peters, N

Published Date

  • October 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 50 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 3093 - 3101

PubMed ID

  • 34590221

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-2800

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10508-021-02083-9


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States