Background: Maltreatment during childhood may lead to deviant behaviors and depression in adolescents. Victims of childhood maltreatment often misuse drugs or alcohol and practice unsafe sex to avoid facing their current situation or stress. This behavior increases the risk of contracting acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among experiences with childhood maltreatment, high-risk sexual behaviors, and depression. Methods: A cross-sectional, correlational study was conducted on a convenience sample of 75 teenage girls from a halfway house located in southern Taiwan. Structured questionnaires were used to assess the experiences of participants with childhood maltreatment, the risk behaviors for AIDS, and depression.Results: Most of the participants in this study had experiences with prostitution (62.7%), exposure to violence (82.7%), and sexual abuse (53.3%) and felt depressed (61.3%). Further, the findings showed that the participants who reported a history of sexual abuse were significantly more likely to have unsafe sex (OR = 5.3) than those who reported not experiencing sexual abuse. Conclusions / Implications for Practice: Participants with a history of childhood maltreatment were more vulnerable to AIDS/STD and more likely to practice unsafe sex. Early interventions to help prevent AIDS/STD among the victims of childhood maltreatment in halfway houses include: screening regularly for depression and for AIDS/STD, providing regular education on AIDS/STD prevention, and promoting effective coping strategies for stress.
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