, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 311-323
Date: 25 Aug 2005

Sexual and Physical Victimization as Predictors of HIV Risk Among Felony Drug Offenders

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Injection and other drug use and high-risk sexual behaviors put criminal offenders at increased risk for HIV infection. Studies in other populations, especially females, have found that a history of sexual or physical victimization increases engagement in HIV-risk behaviors, and drug-involved offenders have high rates of such prior victimization. However, there has been little research among male offenders. In a sample of 247 male felony drug offenders in New York City, prior sexual victimization was related to a higher number of sex partners and lower proportion of protected sex acts in the 30 days before arrest. Prior physical abuse was related to cocaine injection, but not heroin injection or high-risk sex behaviors. These results suggest a complex relationship between sexual and physical abuse and HIV risk among male offenders. Assessing for specific prior abuse histories of offenders and providing targeted interventions may be useful for developing more effective primary and secondary HIV prevention services for this high-risk population.