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.