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Am J Public Health. 2009 Oct;99 Suppl 2:S432-8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.138925. Epub 2009 Apr 16.

Childhood sexual abuse and the sociocultural context of sexual risk among adult Latino gay and bisexual men.

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HIV Research Section, AIDS Office, San Francisco Department of Public Health, 25 Van Ness Ave, Suite 710, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA.



We sought to examine the relationships among childhood sexual abuse, social discrimination, psychological distress, and HIV-risk among Latino gay and bisexual men in the United States.


Data were from a probability sample of 912 men from Miami, FL; Los Angeles, CA; and New York, NY. We used logistic regression and path analyses to examine direct and indirect effects of childhood sexual abuse on psychological distress and sexual risk behavior.


We found a 15.8% (95% confidence interval = 12.3%, 19.2%) prevalence of childhood sexual abuse. Not having sex before age 16 years and having consensual sex before age 16 years did not differ from each other in predicting any of the outcomes of interest. Forced sex was associated with a significantly increased risk for all outcomes. A path analyses yielded direct effects of childhood sexual abuse and exposure to homophobia during childhood and during adulthood on psychological distress and indirect effects on risky sexual behavior.


HIV-risk patterns among Latino gay and bisexual men are related to childhood sexual abuse and a social context of discrimination, which combined lead to symptoms of psychological distress and participation in risky sexual situations that increase risky sexual behaviors associated with HIV acquisition.

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