Treatment News : MACS: Childhood Sex Abuse and Victimization Linked to Increased HIV Risk - by Tim Horn

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join

Back to home » Treatment News » July 2010

Most Popular Links
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

20 Years Ago In POZ

More Treatment News

Click here for more news

Have news about HIV? Send press releases, news tips and other announcements to


July 21, 2010

MACS: Childhood Sex Abuse and Victimization Linked to Increased HIV Risk

by Tim Horn

Gay and bisexual men enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) who reported sexual abuse and social shaming in childhood experience psychosocial health problems later in life known to substantially increase the risk of HIV infection, according to data reported Wednesday, July 21, at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna.

The elaborate study, presented in Vienna by Sin How Lim, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh and her colleagues, included 1,086 HIV-positive and -negative gay and bisexual men enrolled in the MACS, which was started in 1983 and remains the longest-running National Institutes of Health–funded investigation of HIV/AIDS.

The aim of the study was to explore “syndemic” outcomes in the MACS patients, a relatively new epidemiological term referring to the concentration of two or more health conditions that interact synergistically to contribute to excess disease in a population. The term was actually coined back in 1992, when a medical anthropologist named Merrill Singer, PhD, attempted to describe the inextricable and mutually reinforcing connections between health problems—such as substance abuse and domestic violence—and HIV among urban women in the United States.

In the MACS study, Lim’s team found that almost 10 percent of the volunteers reported that they had been victims of childhood sexual abuse and nearly 30 percent had experienced gay-related victimization between the ages of 12 and 14, including verbal insults, bullying, threats of physical violence and physical assaults.

MACS volunteers who experienced childhood sexual abuse and a sense of “masculinity failure” were more likely to engage in substance use, experience depression and sexual compulsivity and to be involved in intimate partner violence—all known to be independent risk factors for unprotected anal sex and, ultimately, HIV infection. This finding, Lim reported, confirmed the occurence of syndemic outcomes in this particular population of men. 

“Our study shows that the early socialization experiences of gay men can be deeply stigmatizing and increase their risks for these syndemic conditions in adulthood,” Lim said. “Given the long-lasting impacts, effective interventions should address multiple interrelated social issues early on rather than focusing on each problem in isolation.”

Search: syndemic, childhood, sexual abuse, victimization, masculinity failure, social shaming, stigma, drug use, transmission, MACS, Vienna, International AIDS Conference

Scroll down to comment on this story.


(will display; 2-50 characters)


(will NOT display)


(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The POZ team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules

Show comments (1 total)

[Go to top]

Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar
POZ on Twitter

Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Has a pet helped you deal with your HIV?


more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2016 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.