Child abuse in young, HIV-positive women: Linkages to risk

Gretchen A. Clum, Katherine Andrinopoulos, Kathryn Muessig, Jonathan M. Ellen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In this article we explore the lives of young women living with HIV who experienced physical and/or sexual abuse in childhood. Using a modified version of the Life Story Interview, 40 women recruited from HIV clinics in three different states participated in a qualitative interview. Interviews covered abuse experiences, cognitive and emotional consequences of abuse, coping strategies, and sexual behavior and relationships. Overall, these young women had complex abuse histories, often experiencing more than one type of abuse in the context of other difficult life events. Avoidance and substance use were frequently utilized as coping strategies for abuse-related distress. Young women reported sexual and relationship concerns, including avoidance of sex, sexual dysfunction, sex as a trigger for abuse memories, and difficulty establishing intimacy and trust. Relationships between abuse-related reactions and sexual risk behavior, as well as recommendations for interventions, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1755-1768
Number of pages14
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Abuse
  • Coping and adaptation
  • Physical
  • Risk
  • Sexual
  • Women's issues
  • Young women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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