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J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2004 Mar-Apr;15(2):14-26.

Gay identity, interpersonal violence, and HIV risk behaviors: an empirical test of theoretical relationships among a probability-based sample of urban men who have sex with men.

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  • 1Department of Professional Nursing, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, Washington, D.C., USA.


The highest absolute number of new HIV infections and AIDS cases still occur among men who have sex with men (MSM). Numerous theoretical approaches have been used to understand HIV risk behaviors among MSM; however, no theoretical model examines sexual risk behaviors in the context of gay identity and interpersonal violence. Using a model testing predictive correlational design, the theoretical relationships between childhood sexual abuse, adverse early life experiences, gay identity, substance use, battering, aversive emotions, HIV alienation, cue-to-action triggers, and HIV risk behaviors were empirically tested using confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling. The relationships between these constructs are complex, yet childhood sexual abuse and gay identity were found to be theoretically associated with HIV risk behaviors. Also of importance, battering victimization was identified as a key mediating variable between childhood sexual abuse, gay identity, and adverse early life experiences and HIV risk behaviors among urban MSM.

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