Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 47, Issue 7, pp 1949–1957 | Cite as

Relationship Between Childhood Sexual Abuse and HIV-Related Risks Among Men Who Have Sex with Men: Findings from Mainland China

  • Wenjian Xu
  • Lijun Zheng
  • Jingjing Song
  • Xing Zhang
  • Xuemeng Zhang
  • Yong ZhengEmail author
Original Paper


Men who have sex with men (MSM) carry the burden of HIV infection in China. Outside of China, a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has been associated with HIV-related risks (behavioral, sexual, and mental health outcomes) among MSM. We therefore evaluated the relationship between CSA and these HIV-related risks among MSM in China. Cross-sectional data were collected via a survey from gay websites and social networking applications from MSM in 30 provinces in mainland China during a 3-month period in 2014 and 2015. Overall, 999 screened MSM who responded to questions on CSA were included. Multinomial logistic regression models—adjusted for sociodemographic confounders—showed that men who reported experiencing regular CSA and contact CSA, respectively, were more likely to use substances (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.91; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.39–2.62 and AOR, 1.70; 95% CI 1.25–2.31), had a history of sexually transmitted infections (AOR, 1.81; 95% CI 1.29–2.55 and AOR, 1.65; 95% CI 1.18–2.96), had more male sexual partners (AOR, 1.06; 95% CI 1.04–1.09 and AOR, 1.05; 95% CI 1.03–1.08), engaged in more condomless sex with men (AOR, 1.89; 95% CI 1.39–2.56 and AOR, 1.72; 95% CI 1.29–2.30), and experienced more psychological distress (AOR, 1.05; 95% CI 1.02–1.08 and AOR, 1.05; 95% CI 1.03–1.08). Both frequent and contact forms of CSA were positively associated with HIV-related risks among MSM, suggesting that general CSA prevention strategies and interventions are needed to support this population.


Childhood sexual abuse Sexual orientation Men who have sex with men Substance use Sexual behaviors Psychological distress 



This research was supported by the Humanities and Social Sciences Project of the Ministry of Education (15YJA190011), China; the program of China Scholarships Council (CSC, 201706990063); and the postgraduate Science Innovation Foundation of Chongqing (CYB17050), China. The authors also thank all the respondents of this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest with respect to their authorship or the publication of this article.

Ethical Approval

All study procedures were approved by the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, prior to data collection.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wenjian Xu
    • 1
  • Lijun Zheng
    • 1
  • Jingjing Song
    • 1
  • Xing Zhang
    • 1
  • Xuemeng Zhang
    • 1
  • Yong Zheng
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Cognition and PersonalitySouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  2. 2.Faculty of PsychologySouthwest UniversityChongqingChina

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