A study has found that gay and bisexual men who were victims of childhood sexual abuse are more likely to engage in sexual behaviours that put them at higher risk of contracting HIV.

A survey of 862 randomly selected gay and bisexual men who were enrolled in a community festival found that almost one in seven had been victims of childhood sexual abuse.

Those who reported regular childhood sexual abuse were at significantly greater risk for being HIV positive.

They were seven times more likely to have ever exchanged sex for money and were 6.4 times more likely to be a current drug user than those who did not report abuse.

However, the victims of childhood sexual abuse were not more likely to have a current sexually transmitted infection or to report practicing unprotected sex.

The study’s authors recommended further research to help determine how childhood sexual abuse contributes to sexual risk taking in gay and bisexual men and the types of interventions that may be most effective.

“We also believe that data such as ours reflect the importance of (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) voices in policy development and advocacy to address child sexual abuse,” the study’s authors said.

The study, called History of Childhood Sexual Abuse and HIV Risk Behaviours in Homosexual and Bisexual Men, is by Seth L. Welles of Boston University.

It was published in the American Journal of Public Health, the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association (APHA).

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