Bisexual teenagers are five times more likely to get pregnant than their straight counterparts, new research has found.
Lesbians are also twice as likely to get pregnant, according to the study performed by researchers including Dr Brittany Charlton, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.
Dr Charlton, who also has the same role at Boston Children’s Hospital, explained that the results were largely explained by traumatic incidents in these young people’s lives.
“We know that sexual minorities have more established risk factors for teen pregnancy than their heterosexual peers,” she told health news site Infectious Diseases in Children.
“These established risk factors include things like initiating sex at a younger age.
“Being sexually abused and homeless are two other strong risk factors for teen pregnancy – both of which are more common among sexual minority teens.”
The study, published in medical journal Pediatrics, also explained that “childhood maltreatment and bullying were significant teen pregnancy risk factors among all participants.
“After adjusting for childhood maltreatment and bullying… these risk factors explained 45 percent of the disparity.”
Bisexual teens – alongside mostly heterosexual teens – also reported the highest amounts of stress related to their sexual orientation in the study.
While 56 percent of lesbians said they got involved with LGB social activities at least six times a year, just 17 percent of bisexual girls said the same. One in 10 had never had any involvement.
Just 38 percent of bisexual teens reported having come out to everyone they knew, compared to 69 percent of lesbians.
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“Documenting these disparities is the first step toward reaching health equity,” Dr Charlton said.
“Every one of us can help to lessen this burden. For example, health care providers can become better trained to meet the needs of their sexual minority patients.
“Public health practitioners can design inclusive teen pregnancy interventions targeted at socially marginalised populations.”
She added that “teachers can ensure that all their students, especially sexual minority teens, are properly equipped with comprehensive sex education and the knowledge necessary to make healthy decisions.
“Parents can also ensure that their children are supported and have access to requisite reproductive health care.”
A study this month found that no-one is 100 percent heterosexual.
In January, another set of research revealed that 20,000 LGBT teenagers will be forced into gay ‘cure’ therapy with a licensed healthcare professional before they turn 18.
New Jersey, California, Oregon, Vermont, Illinois, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada and Washington DC all now prohibit gay conversion therapy.
Bills to ban conversion therapy on children are pending in another 16 states.