Survey Finds Some High School Students Engage in Risky Sexual Behavior

Health officials say a new survey found that about 40 percent of New York City teens are sexually active and nearly one in ten of those say they've had at least one same-sex partner.

Preethi Pathela, the study's main author, says teens who had sex with both males and females reported riskier behavior than those who only had sex with the opposite sex. "For example, they were more likely to report having first had sex at an earlier age, more sex partners in the past, they were more likely to report having used drugs and or alcohol with sex," Pathela said.

The study also found that 40 percent of the teens surveyed say they identify themselves as heterosexual. But Pathela says that is less important than targeting risky behavior. "Sexual identity and behaviors, in terms of who you're having sex with, they don't really match up. And so it's really important not to focus on sexual identity in any kind of messaging that's out there, but rather to focus on the behaviors that are related to the risk," Pathela said.

Teens who engage in same-sex intercourse also report higher rates of unprotected sex and more experiences with sexual violence.

The report is based on a survey from 2005 and 2007 in which more than 17,200 students responded. The results were published in the Journal Pediatrics.

Preethi [PREETH ee] Pathela, the study's main author, says teens who had sex with both males and females reported riskier behavior than those who only had sex with the opposite sex: