CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

The Connections of Mental Health Problems, Violent Life Experiences and the Social Milieu of the 'Stroll' with the HIV Risk Behaviors of Female Street Sex Workers

Department

Department of Justice and Human Service

Publication Date

1-1-2005

Publication Title

Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality

Volume

17

Issue

1-2

First Page

23

Last Page

44

Peer Reviewed

1

Abstract

This paper examines the connections of mental health, victimization, and sexual risk behaviors among a sample of 278 street-based female sex workers in Miami. Using targeted sampling strategies, drug-using sex workers were recruited into an HIV prevention research program. Data were collected by trained interviewers, and focused on drug use and sexual risk for HIV, childhood abuse, recent victimization, and mental health. More than half of the participants reported histories of physical (51.1%) or sexual (53.1%) abuse as children, 37.4% were classified with moderate or severe anxiety symptoms, and 52.9% had symptoms of moderate or severe depression. Logistic regression analyses demonstrated significant associations between mental health issues and engagement in recent unprotected vaginal and oral sex. The program development and policy implications of these findings are discussed.

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