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Prevalence of Childhood Sexual Abuse HIV-Positive Persons in the Southeast

Kathryn Whetten, PhD and Kristin Lowe. Health Inequalities Program, Duke University, PO Box 90253, Durham, NC 27705, (919) 684-8012, kathryn.whetten@duke.edu

This study describes the prevalence and predictors of sexual and physical trauma among HIV-infected persons in the primarily rural Southeast. This is a cross-sectional consecutively sampled survey of 611 HIV-infected persons from 8 HIV-clinics in six southeastern states where AIDS increased 28% from 2000 to 2002. Approximately 1 in 4 respondents, whether male or female, were sexually abused before the age of 13. This is the highest rate of male childhood sexual abuse found in the literature to date. Rates increase to approximately one-third when examining lifetime sexual abused. Approximately 30% of respondents experienced abuse to their bodies (physical or sexual) before the age of 13 with that total raising to more than half by the time they were interviewed for this study. Reporting having parents who were too high or drunk to care for the family was predictive of both childhood sexual and physical abuse as was having a male guardian physically harm or threaten the respondentís mother or stepmother. Likewise, being placed in foster care or having parents who divorced was predictive of childhood abuse. When gender was examined alone as a predictor variable, without controlling for sexual orientation, we found that there was no difference in abuse rates and the variable was not significant. However, when a variable for bisexual or homosexual was added to the regression analysis, gender became significant with women and persons who are bisexual or homosexual experiencing more childhood and adult abuse of all types. No differences were seen by minority status.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to

    Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Violence

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

    HIV/AIDS Among Youth and Adolescents

    The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA