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AIDS Educ Prev. 1996 Aug;8(4):308-22.

Self-reported risk factors for AIDS among homeless youth.

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  • 1Survey Research Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago 60680, USA.


This study assessed HIV risk behaviors in a sample of homeless youth in a large urban area and examined factors associated with these behaviors. Self-reported behaviors were assessed via interviews with 196 homeless youth in Chicago in all 10 urban shelters serving this group and in 5 street locations. Overall, 83.7% reported at least one of these risk factors: multiple sex partners; high-risk partners; inconsistent condom use; history of sexually transmitted disease; anal sex; prostitution; and/or intravenous drug use. An index of these behaviors was associated with being male, having unmet personal needs, being interviewed in street locations, and having a history of sexual abuse. Findings suggest that strategies that may decrease risk behaviors among homeless youth include the elimination of their need to rely on illicit activities for income, provision of basic needs, education regarding existing services, increased outreach efforts, and early identification of and protection from childhood sexual abuse.

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