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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

UNITED STATES: The Number of Recent Sex Partners Among Bisexual Men in the United States


Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health Vol. 43; No. 3:

"Little is known regarding bisexual men's number of recent sex partners, a risk factor for HIV and other STDs. Furthermore, it is unclear if bisexual men have more partners than heterosexual or homosexual men, and whether partner number varies by measures of sexual behavior, identity, and attraction," according to the study's introduction.

Using data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, sexual orientation - separately defined by sexual behavior during the previous year, identity, and attraction - was examined for 3,875 sexually active men ages 15-44. Chi-square and t tests looked at differences in background characteristics, behavioral risk factors, and number of prior- year sex partners by sexual orientation according to each definition. Multivariate ordinary least-squares regression assessed predictors of partner numbers.

After controlling for sexual identity and attraction, behaviorally bisexual men were predicted to have had 3.1 more past-year partners than behaviorally heterosexual men and 2.6 more than behaviorally homosexual men. Controlling for sexual identity and behavior, bisexual-attracted men had 0.7 fewer partners than homosexual-attracted men. A model including background characteristics and behavioral risk factors predicted behaviorally bisexual men to have had 2.5-2.6 more partners than others. "Neither bisexual identity nor bisexual attraction independently predicted the number of recent partners," according to the results.

"The way in which bisexuality relates to men's number of recent sex partners depends on how sexual orientation is measured. Interventions to reduce behaviorally bisexual men's number of partners will likely lessen their risk for HIV and other STDs," concluded the study.


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