Women exposed to violence might have more risky sex

Women who've witnessed or been the victims of violence may be more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour. The study included 481 women being treated at a sexually transmitted disease clinic who were assessed for a history of violence and current sexual risk-taking behaviours, such as having a high number of partners or having unprotected sex. The researchers categorised the women as those having low exposure to violence (39 percent), those who were mainly exposed to community violence (20 percent), those who experienced childhood maltreatment (23 percent), and those who were victims of multiple forms of violence (18 percent). Women who were exposed to community violence and those who suffered multiple forms of violence had the highest levels of risky sexual behaviour. The findings provide new insight into the link between exposure to violence and risky sexual behaviour, especially among low-income, urban women who may experience high rates of violence.