Study of the Day: 1 in 4 Adults With HIV Were Sexually Abused as Kids
By Hans Villarica Mar 23 2012
New research from Duke University shows that psychological trauma predicts increased vulnerability for HIV/AIDS and faster health decline.
METHODOLOGY: Duke University researchers led by Brian Pence monitored more than 600 HIV-positive patients, aged 20 to 71, in the “Coping with HIV/AIDS in the Southeast” study. They investigated possible links to traumatic experiences, HIV-related behaviors, and health outcomes.
RESULTS: A quarter of the respondents were sexually abused as children. Moreover, half of the patients had faced three or more traumatic experiences in their lifetime, including enduring physical abuse and witnessing domestic violence as a child, living through a parent’s suicide attempt or completion, or losing a child.
These painful experiences predicted worse health-related behaviors, such as instances of unprotected sex, missed antiretroviral medications, recent emergency room visits, and hospitalizations. Those who lived through such ordeals were also more likely to die or see their health decline during the two-year study period.
CONCLUSION: Psychological trauma heightens the risk for HIV infection, medication lapses, and disease progression. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/03/study-of-the-day-1-in-4-adults-with-hiv-were-sexually-abused-as-kids/254666/
J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2012 Apr 1;59(4):409-416.
Childhood Trauma and Health Outcomes in HIV-Infected Patients: An Exploration of Causal Pathways.
Pence BW, Mugavero MJ, Carter TJ, Leserman J, Thielman NM, Raper JL, Proeschold-Bell RJ, Reif S, Whetten K.
In 611 outpatient people living with HIV/AIDS, we tested whether trauma’s influence on later health and behaviors was mediated by coping styles, self-efficacy, social support, trust in the medical system, recent stressful life events, mental health, and substance abuse.
In models adjusting only for sociodemographic and transmission category confounders (estimating total effects), pasttrauma exposure was associated with 7 behavioral and health outcomes….
These data suggest that past trauma influences adult health and behaviors through pathways other than the psychosocial mediators considered in this model. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22107822