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AIDS Behav. 2010 Apr;14(2):318-27. doi: 10.1007/s10461-009-9623-1.

HIV sexual risk behavior among low-income women experiencing intimate partner violence: the role of posttraumatic stress disorder.

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Department of Mental Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 2213 McElderry Street, 4th Floor, M409, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Posttraumatic stress disorder resulting from intimate partner violence (IPV-related PTSD), drug problems, and alcohol problems were tested as correlates of women's sexual risk behavior. Participants were 136 low-income women experiencing physical violence by a male partner during the past 6 months. Sexual risk behavior was assessed by whether women had unprotected sex with a risky primary partner (i.e., HIV-positive, injection drug user, and/or nonmonogamous), unprotected sex with a risky nonprimary partner (i.e. HIV-positive or unknown status), or traded sex during the past 6 months. Nearly one in five women engaged in these recent sexual risk behaviors. Simultaneous logistic regression results revealed IPV-related PTSD, but not drug or alcohol problems, was significantly associated with sexual risk behavior while controlling for childhood abuse and demographic covariates. Women with IPV-related PTSD had four times greater odds of recent sexual risk behavior compared to women without IPV-related PTSD. Implications for HIV prevention interventions are discussed.

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