Physical and Sexual Abuse Among Homeless Adults Living With HIV: Prevalence and Associated Risks

Kirk D. Henny, Daniel P. Kidder, Ron Stall and Richard J. Wolitski

November 2007

The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and risks associated with interpersonal (physical and sexual) abuse among HIV-seropositive homeless or unstably housed adults. Data were obtained from the Housing and Health Study of participants living in Baltimore, Chicago, and Los Angeles (n = 644). Researchers used logistic regression to identify risks associated with abuse.  About 77% of men and 86% of women reported ever experiencing abuse. Women were at greater risk than men for intimate partner physical abuse, childhood sexual abuse, and adulthood sexual abuse. Men and women experiencing intimate partner physical abuse reported increased risk of unprotected sex. Other risks associated with abuse include sex exchange, lifetime alcohol abuse, and depressive symptoms.  Abuse prevalence among the sample exceeded those found in other samples of general USA, HIV-seropositive, and homeless populations.  The researchers conclude that identifying persons at risk of abuse is needed to reduce risk among homeless or unstably housed persons living with HIV.

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