Living in a violent community has a profound effect on women - leading them to risky sexual behaviours such as having multiple partners and not using protection
Even witnessing crimes has a profound effect on women - with women who live with violence more prone to having 'risky' sex.
Women who have wirtnessed crimes or been abused themselves, are more likely to have a high number of sexual partners.
They are also more likely to have unprotected sex - and to use drugs or alcohol before having sex.
'Community violence' - simply being surrounded by violence, either in adulthood or childhood - has some of the most profound effects.
The findings offer new insight on the known link between exposure to violence and HIV/STD risk behavior, particularly among low-income, urban women, who may experience high rates of violence.
‘Sadly, our results show that many women must cope with multiple forms of violence, and that some combinations of violent experiences put women at risk for HIV, other STDs or unplanned pregnancy – not to mention the risks from the violence itself,’ said lead author Jennifer Walsh, Ph.D., of The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine.
Researchers from The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine say certain patterns of violence in both childhood and adulthood may make a woman more likely to take significant sexual risks, such as having unprotected sex or a high number of sexual partners.
The current study included 481 women attending an urban STD clinic who were assessed for previous history of violence and current sexual risk-taking behaviors.
The women were primarily African American and most were socioeconomically disadvantaged.
Overall, women reported high rates of exposure to violence compared to the general population.
All types of violence were interrelated, with women who experienced one type of violence being more likely to experience other forms as well.
They are also more likely to have unprotected sex - and to use drugs or alcohol before having sex
Using a statistical technique known as latent class analysis to find common patterns in the data, researchers identified four classes of women with different experiences of violence.
Women with low exposure to violence (39%); women who were predominantly exposed to community violence (20%); women who were predominantly exposed to childhood maltreatment (23%); and women who experienced multiple forms of violence (18%).
The team found women who reported experiencing multiple forms of violence and those who were exposed to community violence had the highest levels of sexual risk behavior, including lifetime number of sexual partners and alcohol and drug use before sex.
Walsh believes the study has several clinical implications. ‘Given the ties between multiple violent experiences and sexual risk-taking, clinicians working with women who experience violence or who are at risk for HIV/STDs may need to consider the overlap between the two in order to impact sexual health consequences,’ she said.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2142823/Even-witnessing-violence-makes-women-likely-risky-sex-lives.html#ixzz1uZX3UCyh