Lack of Sexual Health Knowledge Among Young Males: National survey evaluates high-risk sexual behaviors in young males

NEW ORLEANS -- Young males, regardless of ethnicity, lack sexual and genital health knowledge and engage in high-risk sexual behaviors, according to a new survey presented during the 110th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA). The research will be highlighted by study authors during a special press conference. Lawrence Ross, MD, Clarence C. Saelhof professor emeritus for the Department of Urology at University of Illinois, Chicago and past AUA President, will moderate the session at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA on May 16, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Race, socioeconomic status, and conventional masculine values are often associated with high-risk sexual behaviors in young men, which include: having multiple sexual partners and less favorable attitudes toward condom use, increasing the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and testicular conditions. Often, this group of young minority males has had unmet sexual and reproductive health needs, including a lack of screening for STIs including, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as well as sexual and reproductive health-related cancers and conditions.

Survey Details

Publication Number: MP43-05

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, conducted a survey of males ages 18-25, who attended youth health clinics in five large cities across the southwestern U.S., between 2013-2014 to assess their sexual and genital health knowledge and needs. The survey examined demographics and their sexual-reproductive health knowledge, sexual activity, perceptions of STI risk and physical and testicular health.

Based on responses from 264 young males, with an average age of 20.8 years, findings showed that regardless of ethnicity, young males engage in high-risk sexual behavior and lack knowledge and responsibility within their own sexual-reproductive health awareness. Further research showed:

  • Most young men (65.5 percent) identified themselves as Black/African American, 32.2 percent as Hispanic, and the remainder as White or Other.
  • More than half (57.2 percent) indicated they or their partner did not use birth control at their last sexual encounter, and 21.6 percent indicated having a STI within the past year.
  • Approximately 80 percent perceived their risk of getting STI/HIV as very low or low.
  • Thirty percent of respondents did not know men can get testicular cancer and 60 percent indicated they do not perform testicular self-examination, or do it occasionally.
  • Most respondents (63 percent) indicated they had not been shown how to perform a testicular self-examination.

"These survey findings further support the need to promote positive sexual behaviors among young males," said Dr. Ross. "It's particularly important to implement sexual and genital health services and education, specifically for minority young males, to reduce adverse social, economic and health consequences."

About the American Urological Association: The 110th Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association takes place May 15-19 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA.

Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is a leading advocate for the specialty of urology, and has more than 21,000 members throughout the world. The AUA is a premier urologic association, providing invaluable support to the urologic community as it pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care through education, research and the formulation of health policy.