Recalled Sexual Experiences in Childhood with Older Partners: A Study of Brazilian Men Who Have Sex with Men and Male-to-Female Transgender Persons
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This study assessed the prevalence of recalled childhood sexual experiences with an older partner among men who have sex with men (MSM) and/or male-to-female transgender persons recruited in Campinas, Brazil. It also analyzed associations between such recalled experiences and sexual risk behavior in adulthood. Participants recruited using respondent driven sampling completed a self-administered, computer-based questionnaire, and underwent HIV testing. For data analysis, raw scores were weighted based on participants’ reported network size. Of 575 participants (85% men and 15% transgender), 32% reported childhood sexual experiences with an older partner. Mean age at first experience was 9 years, partners being, on average, 19 years old, and mostly men. Most frequent behaviors were partners exposing their genitals, mutual fondling, child masturbating partner, child performing oral sex on partner, and child being anally penetrated. Only 29% of the participants who had had such childhood sexual experiences considered it abuse; 57% reported liking, 29% being indifferent and only 14% not liking the sexual experience at the time it happened. Transgender participants were significantly more likely to report such experiences and, compared with men, had less negative feelings about the experience at the time of the interview. No significant associations were found between sexual experiences in childhood and unprotected receptive or insertive anal intercourse in adulthood. Results highlight the importance of assessing participants’ perception of abuse, regardless of researchers’ pre-determined criteria to identify abuse. MSM and transgender people may experience childhood sexual experiences with older partners differently from other populations (e.g., heterosexuals), particularly in countries with different cultural norms concerning sexuality than those prevalent in Europe and the U.S.
KeywordsChildhood sexual abuse Childhood sexual experience Homosexual Transgender Respondent driven sampling
This study was supported with funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of Cooperative Agreement No. HRN-A-00-97-00012-00 and by the Brazilian National STD and AIDS Program, Project No. TC 342/06 to the Population Council. Additional funds came from a grant from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH073410; Principal Investigator: Alex Carballo-Diéguez, Ph.D.), and from a center grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University (P30-MH43520; Principal Investigator: Anke A. Ehrhardt, Ph.D.). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of USAID, the Population Council, the United States Government, the Brazilian National STD and AIDS Program, the NIMH, nor the NIH. This study was a collaborative effort between the Population Council, the National STD/AIDS Program of Brazil, the USAID Mission in Brazil, CDC/Global AIDS Program, the STD/AIDS Program of Campinas, the Reference Centre for Gays, Lesbians, Transsexuals, Transvestites, and Bisexuals (GLTTB) of Campinas, the Municipal Laboratory of Campinas, and the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University.
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