Sexual practices and attitudes of street youth in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Marcela Raffaelli, Regina Campos, Alice Payne Merritt, Eliana Siqueira, Carlos Mauricio Antunes, Richard Parker, Marilia Greco, Dirceu Greco, Neal Halsey, Street Youth Study Group The Street Youth Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Street youth are at risk of HIV infection worldwide. To develop effective prevention strategies, information about the meanings and functions of sexual activity for street youth is needed. In this paper data from structured questionnaires, focus group discussions, in-depth interviews and field observations are used to build up a picture of the sexual culture of 9-to-18-year-olds living and/or working on the streets of a large Brazilian city. The findings reveal that these children and adolescents engage in sexual behavior that puts them at risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and reinforce that sex is a multi-determined and entrenched behavior in this population. Interventions must take into account the fact that for street youth, sex is used as a means of insuring survival, seeking comfort, finding pleasure, and dealing with psychological issues that arise during adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-670
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • ADS
  • Brazil
  • street youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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