-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Homeless youth who were
sexually abused as children may engage in sex at a young age
because they believe sex is a way to get people to like them, a new
Canadian researchers gathered information from 179 homeless
youth, aged 16 to 21, from five homeless shelters in Toronto and
the surrounding area. Nearly 42 percent of them reported they were
sexually abused as children. Females were much more likely than
males to report sexual abuse -- 62 percent versus 26.9 percent.
Those who were sexually abused had their first sexual encounter,
on average, at age 14. That is two to three years younger than the
general Canadian population, said the Ryerson University
"For homeless teens, especially young women, being sexually abused as children may make these young people think sex is a way to make someone like them. As a result they are more likely to start having sex at an earlier age," Trevor Hart, an associate professor of psychology and director of Ryerson's HIV Prevention Lab, said in a university news release.
The study also found that two-thirds of the homeless youth had
unprotected vaginal sex.
"By engaging in risky sex, these youth are also potentially exposing themselves to HIV/AIDS, along with a host of other sexually transmitted infections," Hart said.
The findings were slated to be presented this week at the
Ontario HIV Treatment Network research conference. Because the
findings were presented at a medical meeting, the data and
conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a
The National Coalition for the Homeless has more about
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