Unprotected Sex of Homeless Women Living in Los Angeles County

An Investigation of the Multiple Levels of Risk

Published In: AIDS and behavior, v. 14, no. 4, Aug. 2010, p. 960-973

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2009

by David P. Kennedy, Suzanne L. Wenzel, Joan S. Tucker, Harold D. Green, Daniela Golinelli, Gery W. Ryan, Robin L. Beckman, Annie Jie Zhou

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This research uses multi-level modeling to investigate the context of unprotected sex of homeless women. Based on interviews with 429 randomly selected women living in temporary shelter settings in Los Angeles, this project investigates multiple levels of influence on unprotected sex with particular partners. Previous studies have investigated condom use of homeless women primarily at the individual level. This project investigates unprotected sex at the level of the partnership, the individual woman, and her social network. Homeless women who believe in the efficacy of condoms to prevent HIV infection, believe that they have low susceptibility to HIV and have a greater proportion of their non-sex partner social network ties with whom they speak about HIV are less likely to engage in unprotected sex. Women are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior in relationships in which they have high commitment to their partner and experience physical violence.

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