Adverse childhood experiences, mental distress, self-harm and suicidality, and cumulative HIV risk by sex in Lesotho

As part of a Child Abuse and Neglect Journal special issue on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), this study uses data from the 2018 Lesotho Violence Against Children and Youth Survey to explore associations between mental distress, self-harm or suicidality, and HIV risk and individual and cumulative ACEs (sexual, emotional, and physical violence; witnessing community and interparental violence; orphanhood) among youth aged 13–24 in Lesotho.

It finds that differential patterns of associations between ACEs and mental health problems and HIV risk emerged by sex. Scalable, integrated individual and community efforts to prevent ACEs, provide mental health support, and encourage safer sexual behaviors among those exposed are needed and could benefit youth in Lesotho.

Access the full issue in the Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect on ScienceDirect.

Child abuse neglect journal