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The Prevalence and Correlates of Sexual Risk Behaviors and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Outpatients With Borderline Personality Disorder

Harned, Melanie S. PhD*; Pantalone, David W. PhD; Ward-Ciesielski, Erin F. MS*; Lynch, Thomas R. PhD; Linehan, Marsha M. PhD*

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: November 2011 - Volume 199 - Issue 11 - p 832-838
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318234c02c
Original Articles

This study examined the prevalence and correlates of sexual risk behaviors and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in two samples of outpatients with borderline personality disorder (BPD), including suicidal BPD women (n = 99) and opiate-dependent BPD men and women (n = 125). High rates of sexual risk behaviors and STIs were found, particularly in the opiate-dependent BPD sample. Compared with suicidal BPD outpatients, opiate-dependent BPD outpatients reported higher rates of past-year sexual activity, commercial sex work, and lifetime hepatitis, as well as a greater number of lifetime sex partners. Substance use and demographic characteristics (age, sex, and marital status) were associated with higher rates of sexual risk behaviors and/or STIs, whereas cognitive-behavioral factors and indicators of psychiatric impairment were not. These findings point to a clear need for interventions aimed at decreasing sexual risk behaviors among individuals with BPD.

*Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; †Department of Psychology, Suffolk University, Boston, MA; and ‡School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom.

Send reprint requests to Melanie S. Harned, PhD, 3935 University Way NE, Box 355915, Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-5915. E-mail: mharned@u.washington.edu.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.