South African Women in Relationships With Violent Male Partners Have Increased Risk of HIV Infection
May 3, 2004
Women in South Africa who are in relationships with violent or domineering men have a more than 50% increased risk of contracting HIV than women who are not involved in abusive relationships, according to a study published in the May 1 issue of the journal Lancet, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 4/29). University of Michigan epidemiologist Kristin Dunkle, Rachel Jewkes of the South African Medical Research Council and colleagues interviewed 1,366 pregnant South African women at four prenatal clinics in Soweto about their partners, their sexual behavior and violence in their relationships, and each woman underwent routine prenatal HIV testing, according to Reuters (Reaney, Reuters, 4/29). Participants ranged in age from 16 to 44 years and were six to 41 weeks pregnant. The researchers found that 55% of participants reported a history of physical or sexual assault from a male partner, and 33.5% of women tested HIV-positive on the day of their interview (Dunkle et al., Lancet, 5/1). After accounting for age, relationship status and other risk behaviors, the researchers found that women in relationships involving physical abuse were 48% more likely to be HIV-positive than women not in abusive relationships and women in relationships with domineering men had a 52% increased risk of HIV infection than women not in relationships with controlling men (Reuters Health, 4/29). However, child sexual assault, forced first intercourse and adult sexual assault by non-partners were not associated with an increased risk of HIV, according to the study (Lancet, 5/1).
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