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

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


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Domestic Violence*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / physiopathology
  • Young Adult