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May 2000Vol. 1, No. 3Women's HIV Risk Linked to Abuse

A history of childhood sexual abuse or domestic violence might place women at greater risk for contracting HIV, reports an article in the April issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

A study led by Dr. Mardge Cohen of Cook County Hospital in Chicago, found that early sexual abuse was strongly linked with increased HIV risk behaviors, including "using drugs, having more than 10 male sexual partners, and having male partners at risk for HIV infection, and exchanging sex for drugs, money or shelter." The researchers also found a strong association between sexual abuse in childhood and domestic violence later in life.

In light of their findings, the researchers recommend that when assessing women for HIV risk, professionals should inquire about childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence.

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American Public Health Assocation
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