HIV disproportionately impacts youth, particularly young men who have sex with men (YMSM), a population that includes subgroups of young men who have sex with men only (YMSMO) and young men who have sex with men and women (YMSMW). In 2015, among male youth, 92% of new HIV diagnoses were among YMSM. The reasons why YMSM are disproportionately at risk for HIV acquisition, however, remain incompletely explored. We performed event-level analyses to compare how the frequency of condom use, drug and/or alcohol use at last sex differed among YMSMO and YMSWO (young men who have sex with women only) over a ten-year period from 2005–2015 within the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). YMSMO were less likely to use condoms at last sex compared to YMSWO. However, no substance use differences at last sexual encounter were detected. From 2005–2015, reported condom use at last sex significantly declined for both YMSMO and YMSWO, though the decline for YMSMO was more notable. While there were no significant differences in alcohol and substance use at last sex over the same ten-year period for YMSMO, YMSWO experienced a slight but significant decrease in reported alcohol and substance use. These event-level analyses provide evidence that YMSMO, similar to adult MSMO, may engage in riskier sexual behaviors compared to YMSWO, findings which may partially explain the increased burden of HIV in this population. Future work should investigate how different patterns of event-level HIV risk behaviors vary over time among YMSMO, YMSWO, and YMSMW, and are tied to HIV incidence among these groups.
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