If a teenager identifies as gay or lesbian, don't assume he or she doesn't need information about preventing unwanted pregnancies.
That's the message of a new study, which found that gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens appear to be at greater risk of becoming pregnant or impregnating a partner than those who are straight.
Many teens who identify as gay or lesbian have had opposite-sex partners, researchers Lisa Lindley of George Mason University and Katrina Walsemann of the University of South Carolina noted to the New York Daily News, and those who seldom have sex with an opposite-sex partner may think the risk of pregnancy is low when they do so.
"We don't know the circumstances," Lindley told the Daily News.
Lindley and Walsemann of the University of South Carolina based their study on three years' worth of surveys the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted on 10,000 New York City teens. Of the entire sample, 14.3 percent of female teens had experienced a pregnancy, and 10.8 percent of males had impregnated a partner. But the numbers were higher for gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens.
The findings indicate that all teens need comprehensive sex education, including information on how to prevent pregnancy, no matter how they identify, the researchers said. "Just because someone identifies as gay, you don't know," Lindley told the Daily News. "We want people not to make assumptions."
The study was published online by the American Journal of Public Health last week, ahead of print publication. Find an abstract here or order the full story (it's behind a paywall) here.