, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 41-51

Childhood Sexual Abuse and HIV Risk-Taking Behavior Among Gay and Bisexual Men

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We explored the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse among adult gay and bisexual men and measured the association between childhood sexual abuse and high-risk sexual behavior in adulthood. Two separate population-based samples of gay and bisexual men (n = 1,941) residing in Portland and Tucson were surveyed. Over one quarter reported a history of childhood sexual abuse (sexual behavior with someone at least 5 years older prior to age 13, or with someone at least 10 years older when between ages 13 and 15). Men who were abused were more likely to engage in sexual risk behavior than men who were not abused (e.g., unprotected anal intercourse with non-primary partners in the previous 12 months: 21.4% vs. 15.0%, p < .001). Perception of having been coerced was associated with greater sexual risk. Furthermore, childhood sexual abuse and level of coercion were associated with reported levels of HIV infection among gay and bisexual men. It is recommended that existing programs for those at risk for HIV be modified to deal with these issues, and that efforts to bring about behavior change will require approaches that go beyond simply increasing knowledge and awareness.