Sexual Abuse During Childhood is a Culprit for Some Adults with HIV

By Lissette Talledo

Duke University Researchers have found that about one in four adults with HIV were sexually abused as children.  This psychological trauma can be indicative of increased likelihood for HIV/AIDS and faster health decline.

The researchers studied more than 600 patients with HIV, ages 20 to 71, and found that about a quarter of them were indeed abused sexually at a young age.

They also found that about half of the patients experienced three or more traumatic events throughout their lives such as enduring physical abuse, or suffering the loss of a child.

Such traumatic experiences were indicative of worse health-related behaviors including instances of unprotected sex.

One can thus conclude the reasons behind reckless sexual behavior, which can lead to a person contracting HIV.

Uncovered: STD Experiments in Guatemala

It’s no secret that relations between the U.S. and Latin American have been historically problematic. From the UFCO’s exertion of power of almost half of Guatemala’s land to today’s struggle for immigration reform, let’s just say that things haven’t necessarily been peachy. To even further prove testament to this rocky relationship, the United States issued an apology Friday for government-sponsored experiments that deliberately infected hundreds of people in Guatemala with gonorrhea or syphilis in the 1940s.

U.S. Public Health Service researchers and others experimented on institutionalized mental patients, giving them gonorrhea and syphilis without their knowledge. About one-third of the patients who became infected never received adequate treatment, MSNBC reported.

“The sexually transmitted disease inoculation study conducted from 1946-1948 in Guatemala was clearly unethical,” according to a joint statement from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health. We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices.”

Records of the experiments, which were hidden, were discovered by a professor at Wellesley College named Reverby. The research involved the antibiotic penicillin but never provided useful information.

So where was the Guatemalan government when this was taking place?

“Deception was also used in Guatemala,” Professor Reverby said. Dr. Thomas Parran, the former surgeon general who oversaw the start of Tuskegee, acknowledged that the Guatemala work could not be done domestically, and details were hidden from Guatemalan officials.

Considering that these experiments were being done around the time the U.S. was prosecuting Nazi doctors for crimes against humanity, the fact that U.S. government was supporting research that placed human subjects at enormous risk further proves what a an “interesting” relationship we’ve had with Latin America.

Violence as a Health Issue

Last week, my cousin was brutally beaten and was hospitalized for serious head injuries. My cousin wanted to help a young female he felt was threaten by another male. When he approached that male and asked him to leave the young woman alone, he was immediately offended and began to beat my cousin up. The other man also carried a gun and fired three times onto the air and left my bleeding cousin on the floor.
I have often wondered within these last few days about what if my cousin would have been shot;if those three bullets would have ever touched his skin.
The problem with violence today is that it is not recognized as a health issue that is largely effecting our communities. Many communities, especially those with a large amount of minorities face an act of violence on a daily basis. Many people affected by violence end up in ER rooms and in prison but the circle of violence continues to twirl and grow.
Once we as a society begin to recognize violence as a health issue– the more we can focus on provide the appropriate care for our communities.

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