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AIDS Behav. 2012 May;16(4):999-1010. doi: 10.1007/s10461-011-9931-0.

Victimization and sexual risk behavior in young, HIV positive women: exploration of mediators.

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Department of Community Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.


In this study we explore associations between child and adult victimization and sexual risk behavior in 118 young, HIV positive women. Prior research has demonstrated associations between victimization and engagement in sexual risk behavior. Victimization sequelae can include disrupted assertiveness and communication, as well as increased association with risky partners, both of which are also linked with engagement in sexual risk behavior. Thus, we propose a model wherein victimization is linked to sexual risk behavior through two mediating pathways, sexual communication and affiliation with risky partners. We also examine the moderating effects of the presence of an anxiety or depressive disorder on the path from child to adult victimization. Results suggested that adult victimization was associated with unprotected sex with a main partner; however, this association was mediated by less sexual communication and having a risky partner. Trends toward significance were found for depression and anxiety as a moderator of the relationship between child and adult victimization. Child victimization did not have direct effects on unprotected sex. Implications for secondary prevention of HIV and healthy intimate relationships are discussed.

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