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Women Health. 2001;33(1-2):163-80.

A test of factors mediating the relationship between unwanted sexual activity during childhood and risky sexual practices among women enrolled in the NIMH Multisite HIV Prevention Trial.


This study examined both the direct and indirect associations between unwanted sexual activity during childhood and HIV-related sexual practices of adult women. The sample consisted of 3,346 women recruited from sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics and health service organizations. The findings demonstrated that participants who reported unwanted sexual activity as a child (USC) were more likely than women who did not report such experience to indicate that they had problems with alcohol, used drugs, received money or drugs in exchange for sex, had unwanted sex, and used mental health services. The women reporting USC also noted a greater number of unprotected sex acts, a greater number of partners, and a greater proportion of sex acts accompanied by drugs or alcohol in the past 90 days. Mediated analyses showed that drug use, exchange of sex for money/drugs, unwanted sex, and to a lesser extent, problems with alcohol mediated the relationship between USC and unprotected sex acts, number of partners, and sex under the influence of drugs and alcohol. These findings suggest that participation in non-sexual risky behaviors among women who report USC may be a bridge to participation in sexual behaviors that increase their risk of HIV infection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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