No association between cumulative traumatic experiences and sex in risk for posttraumatic stress disorder among human immunodeficiency virus-positive adults

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    This study examined the association between the type and number of traumatic experiences and the conditional risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stratified by sex, in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We evaluated 465 (114 male and 350 female) HIV-positive adults attending HIV clinics in Cape Town, South Africa. Demographic and clinical data were collected, and the participants were screened for current PTSD and traumatic event exposure using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview and the Life Events Checklist, respectively. The highest attributable risk for PTSD was derived from sexual assault (17.4%) and transport accidents (16.9%). Only sexual assault was significantly (p = 0.002) associated with current PTSD. Although sex had no effect on the prediction of current PTSD, HIVinfected men tended to experience more lifetime traumas than HIV-infected women, with the men having significantly higher rates of exposure than women to physical assault (p = 0.018) and assault with a weapon (p = 0.001). These data highlight the importance of considering trauma type in contributing to the burden of PTSD in HIV-infected adults.