Childhood Sexual Abuse and Syringe Sharing Among People Who Inject Drugs
Childhood sexual abuse is associated with adverse health outcomes. However, the impact of sexual abuse on HIV risk behaviors among people who inject drugs (IDU) has not been thoroughly characterized. We therefore sought to identify whether childhood sexual abuse was associated with syringe sharing among a sample of IDU in Vancouver, Canada. We assessed sexual abuse among two cohorts of IDUs via the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Multivariate logistic regression was used to estimate the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and syringe sharing. In total, 1380 IDU were included in the study, and 426 (30.9 %) IDU reported childhood sexual abuse. Syringe sharing (Adjusted Odds Ratio = 1.83, 95 % Confidence Interval 1.28–2.60) remained independently associated with childhood sexual abuse after adjustment for potential confounders. Given that a history of childhood sexual abuse appears to be elevated among IDU who engage in HIV risk behaviors (i.e., syringe sharing), HIV prevention efforts should include efforts to address historical trauma in this population.
KeywordsChildhood sexual abuse Syringe sharing HIV-risk behavior Injection Drug User
The authors thank the study participants for their contribution to the research, as well as current and past researchers and staff. We would also like to thank Deborah Graham, Peter Vann, Tricia Collingham, Carmen Rock, Steve Kain and Cody Callon for their assistance with this research. The study was supported by the US National Institutes of Health (R01DA021525 and R01DA011591). This research was undertaken, in part, thanks to funding from the Canada Research Chairs program through a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Inner City Medicine which supports Dr. Evan Wood.
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