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Am J Public Health. 2009 Apr;99 Suppl 1:S197-203. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.131599. Epub 2009 Feb 12.

Sexually transmitted diseases among adults who had been abused and neglected as children: a 30-year prospective study.

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Department of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, New York, NY, USA.



We examined associations between childhood abuse and neglect and the risk in adulthood for sexually transmitted diseases.


In a prospective cohort design, we matched children aged 0 to 11 years with documented cases of abuse or neglect during 1967 to 1971 with a control group of children who had not been maltreated (754 participants in all) and followed them into adulthood. Information about lifetime history of sexually transmitted diseases was collected as part of a medical status examination when participants were approximately 41 years old.


Childhood sexual abuse increased risk for any sexually transmitted disease (odds ratio [OR] = 1.94; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.00, 3.77; P = .05) and more than 1 type of sexually transmitted disease (OR = 3.33; 95% CI = 1.33, 8.22; P = .01). Physical abuse increased risk for more than 1 type of sexually transmitted disease (OR = 3.61; 95% CI = 1.39, 9.38; P = .009).


Our results provided the first prospective evidence that child physical and sexual abuse increases risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Early screening and interventions are needed to identify and prevent sexually transmitted diseases among child abuse victims.

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