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Uncovering Sexual Health Topics for Parents to Address with Their Adolescent-aged GBQ Male Children

Comprehensive and inclusive sexual health education reduces young gay, bisexual, and queer (GBQ) men’s vulnerability to poor sexual health outcomes like HIV and STIs into adulthood, data shows. However, conservative ideologies continue to dominate policies on school-based sex education and view topics like same-sex attractions as controversial.

February 07, 2023

Given legislative barriers to inclusive sex education in schools, parent-child sexual health communication has emerged as a route to meet the sexual health education needs of GBQ youth. A new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) forwards a foundational conceptualization of what age-appropriate, inclusive, and comprehensive sexual education looks like for families with GBQ adolescent males.

“Having early developmental discussions is critically important,” explains lead-investigator Dalmacio Dennis Flores, PhD, ACRN, FAAN, Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Health. “Our findings point to the crucial need for parents to proactively engage in inclusive and methodical sexuality talks throughout adolescence and especially in middle school, and even as early as elementary school.”

In an article published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, Flores and his co-authors share results of the study, including GBQ adolescent males’ suggestions for a comprehensive list and age-appropriateness of topics that parents may use for inclusive discussions at home throughout the elementary, middle school, and high school years.

The article “Inclusive and Age-Appropriate Timing of Sexual Health Discussions at Home According to Gay, Bisexual, and Queer Adolescent Males” is now available online. Co-authors of the article include Penn Nursing Assistant Professors Melanie Kornides, ScD, RN, FNP-BC, and Steven Meanley, PhD, MPH. Both are also Senior Fellows in Penn’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Surgeon General C. Everett Koop HIV/AIDS Research Award.

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