Childhood sexual abuse and HIV-related risks among men who have sex with men in Washington, DC

Gregory Phillips*, Manya Magnus, Irene Kuo, Anthony Rawls, James Peterson, Luz Montanez, Tiffany West-Ojo, Yujiang Jia, Jenevieve Opoku, Alan E. Greenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has been reported to be disproportionately higher among men who have sex with men (MSM) than among heterosexual men; it has also been found to be significantly positively associated with HIV status and HIV risk factors, including unprotected anal intercourse. The purpose of this study was to assess the correlates of CSA in a sample of community-recruited MSM, investigate race as a potential effect modifier, and describe the independent association between CSA and HIV infection in Washington, DC. A total of 500 MSM were recruited by venue-based sampling in 2008 as part of the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance. More than one-half of MSM identified as White, while one-third identified as Black. CSA was reported by 17.5 % of the 451 MSM, with the first instance of abuse occurring at a median age of 8.3 (interquartile range = 5.0, 11.0). In multivariable analysis, HIV-positive men were significantly more likely to report a history of CSA compared to HIV-negative men after adjusting for intimate partner violence in the last 12 months, having been arrested in the last 12 months, and depressive symptoms. HIV-positive MSM had more than four times the odds of reporting CSA after controlling for other correlates (aOR = 4.19; 95 % CI 2.26, 7.75). Despite hypothesizing that race modified the effect of CSA on HIV infection we found this was not the case in this sample. More research is needed to investigate the potential pathway between a history of CSA and HIV infection, and how this contributes to driving the HIV epidemic among MSM in Washington, DC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)771-778
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Behavioral surveillance
  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • HIV
  • IPV
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Sexual orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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