Sexual and Reproductive Health of Young Men of Color: Analyzing and Interpreting the Data,The

by Danielle Huff; Wilhelmina A. Leigh

May 1, 2006

In the late 1980's, due in part to the spread of HIV and chlamydia, data collection on adolescent sexual and reproductive health began to shift away from its focus on young females to include males. Despite certain complexities and limitations this type of data presents, research from the early 2000's is analyzed here to assess sexual behaviors and health outcomes of young men of color in comparison to other subgroups.
  • Outcome data on disease, which are taken from the nation's public health system, are likely to be biased toward over representing people of color who more often use public health clinics. Interpretations of data on sexual behavior must consider macro influences, such as differential access to sex education.
  • Between 1999 and 2004, infection rates of men age 15-29 increased for chlamydia (by 37 percent 15-19 year old black teens), fell for gonorrhea (by 29 percent among 15-19 year old black teens), and increased among most young men of color for syphilis despite a decrease among non-Hispanic blacks ages 15-24.
  • In 2001, black non-Hispanic males comprised 15 percent of young men ages 13-19 yet 59 percent of cases of HIV among this cohort.
  • The proportion of black high school students who had ever had vaginal intercourse declined from 89 percent in 1993 to 74 percent in 2003. Black male high school students were the most likely (26 percent) to report having had sexual intercourse before age 13 in 2001.
  • Nearly 95 percent of young black men reported using condoms at least some of the time, compared to 84 percent of both Hispanics and whites. Black high school students were also the least likely to report drug or alcohol use with sexual intercourse.