Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 1227–1238 | Cite as

I Kept It to Myself”: Young Jamaican Men Who Have Sex with Men’s Experiences with Childhood Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault

  • Orlando O. HarrisEmail author
  • Leith Lorraine Dunn
Original Article


The prevalence of HIV is exceptionally high among Jamaican men who have sex with men (JMSM) compared to similar populations within the Caribbean. A noticeable gap in the literature is the impact of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and sexual assault on the state of the epidemic among this population. This study focused on JMSM’s experiences with CSA and sexual assault and how these domains relate to HIV prevention. We analyzed qualitative data from 20 semi-structured in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with 10 men. Common themes emerged that highlight the patterns and nature of the abuse, the characteristics of the perpetrators, and the ways in which participants engage agency and resiliency as a basis to reclaim personal power. These findings serve as a catalyst for understanding how experiences with CSA and sexual assault affect the lives of young JMSM; how those experiences may impact attitudes and behaviors regarding HIV testing, engagement in care; and have implications for shaping legal policy, clinical, and mental health services for JMSM survivors.


Men who have sex with men Jamaica Sexual assault Childhood sexual abuse HIV Sexual orientation 



We gratefully acknowledge the generous support by the Fulbright Scholars Program operating through the Institute for International Education and sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. We also acknowledge the generous support of the Center for AIDS Research (P30AI078498); the School of Nursing and the Fredrick Douglass Institute for African American Affairs at the University of Rochester; the Institute for Gender Development Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus; and the Traineeships in AIDS Prevention Studies (T32 MH-19105-29 PI: S. Kegeles) at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies in the Department of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no real or perceived vested interests that relate to this article that could be construed as a conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community Health Systems, School of NursingUniversity of California-San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Gender Development Studies, Mona Campus UnitUniversity of the West IndiesKingstonJamaica

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