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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED STATES: The Relationship Between Sexual Abuse and Risky Sexual Behavior Among Adolescent Boys: A Meta-Analysis
Yuko Homma, MS; and others
August 20, 2012
Journal of Adolescent Health Vol. 51; No. 1: P. 18-24 (07..12)

Sexual abuse during childhood and adolescence has been shown to lead to greater odds of sexual behaviors that can result in STIs and involvement with early pregnancy. While research, meta-analyses, and interventions have focused chiefly on young females who have experienced sexual abuse, some adolescent boys are sexually abused as well. The authors conducted a meta-analysis of previous studies to assess the strength of the link between a history of sexual abuse and three risky sexual behaviors among North American adolescent males. The three outcomes were unprotected sexual intercourse, multiple sex partners, and pregnancy involvement. Weighted mean effect sizes were computed from 10 independent samples from nine studies published between 1990 and 2011. Compared to boys who were not abused, sexually abused boys were significantly more likely to report all three risky behaviors (weighted mean odds ratios: 1.91 for unprotected intercourse, 2.91 for multiple sex partners, and 4.81 for pregnancy involvement). “Our results indicate that childhood and adolescent sexual abuse can substantially influence sexual behaviors in adolescence among male survivors,” the authors concluded. “To improve sexual health for all adolescents, even young men, we should strengthen sexual abuse prevention initiatives, raise awareness about male sexual abuse survivors’ existence and sexual health issues, improve sexual health promotion for abused young men, and screen all people, regardless of gender, for a history of sexual abuse.”