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Purpose: The purpose of our study was to examine the relationship between child maltreatment, physical and sexual victimization, and partner violence victimization with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) risk behaviors among a sample of homeless young adults from the midwestern United States.
Methods: Data are from the Homeless Young Adult Project. A total of 199 young adults aged 19–26 years were interviewed over 14 months using a systematic sampling strategy. The final sample included 172 young adults who were homeless or had a history of running away and being homeless.
Results: Results from the path analysis revealed that sexual abuse is directly linked with street sexual victimization which was positively associated with a greater number of HIV risk behaviors. Experiencing more types of physical abuse and neglect were positively correlated with partner violence victimization, which was, in turn, associated with more HIV risk behaviors. Those who suffered from more types of neglect also experienced more forms of sexual and physical victimization.
Conclusions: These findings have implications for service providers. Clinicians who serve homeless youth should recognize the potential effect that experiencing a variety of forms of victimization may have on health risk behaviors.