Introduction Despite what adolescent health practitioners may assume, multiple studies have found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) girls are more likely than heterosexual girls to have unprotected penile-vaginal sex, engage in penile-anal sex, have multiple sexual partners, have high risk sexual partners, and to get pregnant. In the face of these disparities, it is unknown if LGB girls are getting tested for STIs.
Methods Ninety-one 14–18 year old cisgender females who identified as sexual minority (i.e., had a sexual identity other than exclusively heterosexual) and lived in the United States were recruited through Facebook and surveyed online in July 2016.
Results Twenty-nine percent of respondents estimated they lived in a lower than average income household. Seventy-five percent were White race; 11% were Hispanic ethnicity. Two in five respondents (42%) lived in a suburban area, one in four (27%) lived in an urban area, and just under one in three (30%) lived in a small town or rural area.LGB girls reported rates of lifetime STI testing (21%) similar to rates of HIV testing (19%). Four percent said they had ever tested positive for an STI; none reported a positive HIV test.Compared to 6% of LGB girls who have only had sex with girls, 30% of LGB girls who have only had sex with guys, and 46% of girls who have had sex with guys and girls have ever been tested for an STI (p=0.01).Although not statistically significant, LGB girls who did not use a condom at last penile-vaginal sex (62%) were more likely than those who did (35%) to have ever been tested for STIs (p=0.15).
Conclusion It may be that LGB girls who have male partners, either exclusively or while also having female partners, are aware of the STI risk that penile-vaginal sex may confer and are testing accordingly. The higher rates of STI testing in the face of lower condom use however, may suggest that some LGB teens who are having sex with guys are using testing instead of condoms as a form of STI prevention.
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