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Same-Sex Behavior and Health Indicators of Sexually Experienced Filipino Young Adults


Cheng, Chia-Hsin Emily; Gipson, Jessica D.; Perez, Tita Lorna; & Cochran, Susan D. (2016). Same-Sex Behavior and Health Indicators of Sexually Experienced Filipino Young Adults. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45(6), 1471-1482.


The Philippines is one of seven countries in which HIV incidence has recently increased—much of this increase has been among men who have sex with men. Despite this trend, knowledge on sexuality and same-sex behaviors in the Philippines is limited. This study examines same-sex behavior, sexual outcomes, substance use, and psychological distress among young adults participating in the 2005 Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS). We use gender-stratified, multivariate models to compare young adults who reported same-sex behaviors and those who did not. Among a cohort of 1,912 Filipino young adults (ages 20–22), 58.2 % were sexually experienced and 15.1 % of them reported same-sex sexual contacts or romantic relationships. Compared to females, more males reported same-sex sexual contact (19.4 vs. 2.3 %) or same-sex romantic relationships (9.2 vs. 4.1 %). Young adults reporting same-sex behavior had higher odds of smoking, drug use, perceived stress, and more sexual partners as compared to their peers. Males who reported same-sex behavior initiated sex earlier than those males who did not report same-sex behaviors. There were no significant differences in depressive distress. Earlier sexual initiation and higher levels of substance use among Filipino young adults engaging in same-sex behavior highlight the need to address unique health issues within this population. Mixed findings for depressive distress and perceived stress indicate that further investigation is needed to explore the potential impacts of same-sex status on mental health outcomes, particularly in lower- and middle-income countries such as the Philippines.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Archives of Sexual Behavior


Cheng, Chia-Hsin Emily
Gipson, Jessica D.
Perez, Tita Lorna
Cochran, Susan D.