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Study: LGB College Students Less Likely to Use Condoms
by GayHealth Staff

College students with same-sex partners use condoms less often than students with only opposite-sex partners, according to new research.

The study, conducted by Dr. Marla Eisenberg of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, was based on 8,500 undergraduate students from across the country from a 1997 College Alcohol Study.

The social norms around condom use among gay men have changed considerably in the wake of new treatments.
Researchers compared the behavior of bisexual and gay students to heterosexual students, and they found significant differences in safer-sex practices between the two groups. Five percent of respondents reported ever having a same-sex partner. Females with both-sex experience and males with both-sex or only same-sex experiences were more likely to report multiple recent sexual partners than those with only opposite-sex partners. Condom use was lower among men with only same-sex experience, and men with more partners also reported less condom use.

"The social norms around condom use among gay men have changed considerably in the wake of new treatments for HIV/AIDS," Eisenberg told Reuters Health. "And the energy previously placed on promoting condom use in this population has fallen somewhat now that fewer friends and lovers are dying of the disease."

Yet condoms were underused by both groups of students. Most students -- 71 percent -- said they were sexually experienced, but only 43 percent said they always use condoms and 24 percent said they never did.

Evidence suggests that some of the students who reported not using condoms were using other forms of birth control and were in monogamous relationships because students were least likely to use condoms if they lived off campus and if they were older than 23.

Findings from the study were published in the December issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2001


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