Sexual risk behavior and illicit drug use among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) contribute to poor health and onward transmission of HIV. The aim of this collaborative multi-site nursing research study was to explore the association between self-compassion and risk behaviors in PLWHA. As part of a larger project, nurse researchers in Canada, China, Namibia, Puerto Rico, Thailand and the US enrolled 1211 sexually active PLWHA using convenience sampling. The majority of the sample was male, middle-aged, and from the US. Illicit drug use was strongly associated with sexual risk behavior, but participants with higher self-compassion were less likely to report sexual risk behavior, even in the presence of illicit drug use. Self-compassion may be a novel area for behavioral intervention development for PLWHA. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.