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This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

Leveraging Relationship-Based Sexual Health Framework for Sexual Risk Prevention in Adolescent Men

Devon Hensel , Casey Bales , Julia Taylor , J. Fortenberry

Abstract

Purpose: Developmental and public health models link sexual health to lower sexual risk in adolescent women, yet no empirical literature evaluates these associations in adolescent men. Methods: Data were drawn from a longitudinal cohort study of sexual relationships and sexual behavior among adolescent men (N=72; 14 to 16 years at enrollment; 60% African American) in the United States. Participants contributed quarterly partner-specific interviews, from which sexual health information and partnered sexual behaviors were drawn. We constructed a multidimensional measure of sexual health, and linked it to partnered outcomes, including oral-genital, vaginal and anal sex, condom use, partner concurrency and intimate partner violence. Random intercept, mixed effects linear, ordinal logistic or binary logistic regression were used to estimate the influence of sexual health on outcome variables (Stata, v.23). All models controlled for participant age, race/ethnicity and relationship length. Results: Adolescent men contributed 651 unique partner-specific interviews. A higher sexual health score with partners was significantly associated with more frequent oral-genital and vaginal sex in relationships, as well as higher condom use, lower partner concurrency and lower received and perpetuated intimate partner violence. Conclusions: Positive sexually-related experiences in adolescent men’s contribute to a core of sexual well-being, which in turn is linked to lower levels of sexual risk with partners. Our data support both developmental and public health applications of sexual health that emphasize both promoting healthy sexuality as well as sexual risk reduction.

SH17097  Accepted 15 October 2017

© CSIRO 2017