Gender equality and women's empowerment

Elsevier, Journal of Adolescent Health, Volume 26, April 2000
Purpose: To identify factors related to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody testing among gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. Methods: Self-reported demographics, risk behaviors, variables related to the Health Belief Model, and HIV testing data were collected at a conference for gay youth, as well as at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in a Southeastern metropolitan area (n = 117). Results: About one third of participating youth who reported engaging in anal and vaginal sex had done so without a condom. In addition, one in four youth reported at least one other HIV risk factor.
Social stigmatization hinders the ability of gay adolescents to achieve the tasks of adolescence. Because their sexual identity is denigrated by society, these youth have difficulty forming a positive identity and establishing healthy peer and intimate relationships. Family relations are often painful, and gay adolescents are susceptible to loneliness, isolation, depression, and suicide. Validation of these adolescents' affectional and erotic feelings helps to normalize their adolescence, as does providing' them with a peer group of other gay youth.

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