Exposure to violence is another widely acknowledged problem for the poor living in urban settings, especially the homeless (Glasser, 1994). Researchers have conceptualized the proliferation of violence in cities as the result of: (1) clashes between ethnic and social boundaries (Merry, 1981, 1996); (2) rapid social disintegration (Wallace, 1990); (3) the result of familial stigma and the misuse of state power (Glasser, 1994; Hecht, 1998); (4) gender power differences and homophobia (Asencio, 1999); and (5) as the byproduct of the inherent danger of operating in an underground economy (Bourgois, 1995, 1998). Violence is also closely associated with illicit substance use and alcoholism (Singer, 1994; Wallace, 1990), both of which are linked to HIV risk directly through the sharing of contaminated needles (Singer, 1996), trading sex for drugs (Sterk, Elifson, & German, 2000), and indirectly through decreases in inhibition (Stall, Heurtin-Roberts, McKusick, Hoff, & Wanner-Lang, 1990).

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