Exploring the Relationship Between Foster Care Experiences and HIV Risk Behaviors Among a Sample of Homeless Former Foster Youth
Recent research shows high rates of poor behavioral health outcomes among homeless former foster youth, including increased risk for HIV-risk behaviors. In the current study, data were collected from 184 youth at drop-in centers in Los Angeles using behavioral health questionnaires to explore the relationships between specific aspects of foster care experiences and engagement in HIV-risk behaviors. Results indicated that youth whose first homelessness experience occurred before leaving foster care were significantly more likely to engage in drug use with sex and exchange sex than those whose first homelessness experience occurred after leaving foster care. Intervention services targeting HIV-risk behaviors should consider the aspects of foster care placements that may increase the risk of these behaviors, such as long periods of placement or experiencing homelessness before exiting foster care, as well as those that may decrease the risk of these behaviors, such as exiting placement at an older age.
KeywordsFoster youth HIV risk Homeless youth Risk behaviors
This study was funded by NIMH F31MH112251.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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