PloS one 2018 04 0613(4) e0195369 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0195369
Childhood traumas, in the form of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect, are globally widespread and highly prevalent, and associated with a range of subsequent poor health outcomes. This study sought to understand the relationship between physical, sexual and emotional childhood abuse and subsequent HIV-risk behaviours amongst young people (18-30) living in urban informal settlements in Durban, South Africa. Data came from self-completed questionnaires amongst 680 women and 677 men comprising the baseline of the Stepping Stones and Creating Futures intervention trial. Men and women were analysed separately. Logistic regression models assessed the relationship between six HIV-risk behaviours and four measures of trauma: the form of trauma, the severity of each trauma, the range of traumas, and overall severity of childhood trauma. Childhood traumas were incredibly prevalent in this population. All childhood traumas were associated with a range of HIV-risk behaviours. This was for the ever/never trauma, as well as the severity of each type of trauma, the range of trauma, and overall severity of childhood trauma. Despite the wider harsh contexts of urban informal settlements, childhood traumas still play a significant role in shaping subsequent HIV-risk behaviours amongst young people. Interventions to reduce childhood traumas for populations in informal settlements need to be developed. In addition, trauma focused therapies need to be considered as part of wider HIV-prevention interventions for young adults.