A Review of Recent Literature on Trauma Among Individuals Living with HIV

Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 2015 Dec;12(4):397-405. doi: 10.1007/s11904-015-0288-2.


Persons living with HIV (PLWH) report disproportionately high levels of exposure to traumatic events in childhood and adulthood. Traumatic experiences are associated with negative health and behavioral outcomes. Current research in this area seeks to further explicate the myriad health effects of trauma on PLWH and the pathways through which trauma operates. In this paper, we review articles published in English between January 2014 and June 2015 that examine traumatic experiences among PLWH, including intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse, child abuse, and other forms of violence. A selection of studies examining trauma among PLWH and its associations with mental health, antiretroviral medication adherence, clinical outcomes, HIV disclosure, and sexual risk behaviors were included. Studies describing trauma coping strategies and interventions were also included. We conclude with recommendations for care of trauma-exposed PLWH and directions for future research.

Keywords: Adherence; Clinical outcomes; HIV; Mental health; Risk behaviors; Trauma; Trauma-informed care.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Risk Factors
  • Violence*


  • Anti-HIV Agents