Sexually abused street teens have sex at an early age to get partner approval

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Washington, Nov. 14 (ANI): A new study has revealed that homeless teens who were sexually molested as children may be motivated to have sex at an earlier age because they are seeking approval from their partners.

The research has been conducted by 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," said Trevor Hart, director of Ryerson's HIV Prevention Lab and an associate professor of psychology.

He also noted that almost two-thirds of the homeless youth participating in the study 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 (STIs)," Hart said.

Over a period of 10 months, the researchers recruited 179 homeless teens between the ages of 16 to 21 from five homeless shelters across the Greater Toronto Area. Slightly over half were male.

The researchers found that nearly 42 per cent of the teens reported they were sexually abused as children. Significantly more females (62 per cent) said they were abused compared to males (26.9 per cent).

The youth who were sexually abused as children also cited more often coping and partner approval as motives for engaging in risky sex.

The researchers will present their findings at the Ontario HIV Treatment Network research conference in Toronto. (ANI)

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