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Correlates and distribution of HIV risk behaviors among homeless youths in New York City: implications for prevention and policy.

(Author Affiliation: Institute for AIDS Research, National Development Research Institutes, Inc., New York, NY) In Child Welfare. 1998: Mar-Apr;77(2):195-207.


Homeless youths are at high risk for poor health outcomes, including repeated exposure to STDs and high rates of unplanned pregnancies, untreated TB, HIV infection, and accelerated immune dysfunction associated with AIDS. This article examines the nature and distribution of HIV-risk behavior in a broad, street-based sample of homeless and runaway youths in New York City (N = 929). Although street youths in general are shown at high risk, the highest risks nest within older age segments of the male street youth population. Paradoxically, these youths are least likely to be in contact with prevention services. The data demonstrate the need to reconsider the use of chronological age as a determinant for service eligibility and to reconfigure funding streams so as to more effectively and consistently target older and more vulnerable youths.