Methods: A supplemental questionnaire was distributed in conjunction with the 2015 administration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) high schools. 2,326 students were selected through probability sampling of schools and students completed both general and supplemental questionnaires. Logistic regressions were run to examine the impact of homelessness on sex risk behaviors.
Results: Our results indicate that approximately 10% of the entire school sample experienced homelessness, with nearly half of the sample reporting being sexually active, but with low rates of STI testing and condom use. Results of the multivariate models indicated that any homeless experience was significantly associated with ever having had sex (OR=2.15, 95%CI=1.50,3.08), as well as an increased likelihood of having been tested for an STI (2.93, 95%CI=1.82, 4.70) and a decreased likelihood of having used a condom in the last 3 months (OR=.50, 95% CI=.29,.89).
Discussion: This study indicates while homeless youth were more likely to have been tested in the last 3 months, they were also more likely to have had sex at all, and less likely to have used a condom in the last 3 months. Interventions targeting sex education for homeless youth may need to account to their decreased use of condoms, while supporting their use of STI testing. Schools teaching sex education may need to take added measures to ensure that homeless students may have specific risk and resiliency factors where their sexual health is concerned compared to other students who are not experiencing homelessness.