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Public Health Rep. 2013 May-Jun;128(3):153-60.

Correlates of HIV risk behaviors among homeless and unstably housed young adults.

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  • 1Oregon Health & Science University, Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Portland, OR 97239, USA.



Homeless young adults are exposed to multiple risk factors for HIV infection. We identified HIV risk behaviors and their correlates among homeless young adults in Portland, Oregon.


We conducted a community-based, cross-sectional survey of HIV risk behaviors among homeless young adults aged 18-25 years in 2010. Participants completed three study components: (1) an interviewer-administered survey of HIV risk behaviors; (2) a brief, client-centered HIV risk-based counseling session; and (3) rapid HIV testing.


Among 208 participants, 45.8% identified as racial/ethnic minority groups, 63.8% were male, and 35.7% self-identified as nonheterosexual. Six participants, all from sexual minority groups, had positive HIV screening results (two newly identified, four previously known) for a seropositivity rate of 2.9%. Female sex, belonging to a sexual minority group, frequent traveling between cities, depression, and alcohol use to intoxication were significantly associated with unprotected sex in univariate analysis. Female sex and high perceived risk of HIV were significantly associated with unprotected sex in multivariate analysis.


Our findings support the need for enhanced HIV prevention interventions for homeless young adults.

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