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The Connection Between Domestic Violence and HIV

By Candace Y.A. Montague

October 18, 2010

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Domestic Violence is a pattern of behavior used by someone to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation. It happens between people who are, or have been, in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence often includes the threat or actual use of violence. It happens when one person believes they are entitled to control another. In 2009, 4,796 people were served at the two Domestic Violence Intake Center locations in DC. The way it can lead to HIV infection is commonly through sexual abuse.

The basis of many domestic violence cases is gender-based biases that oppress women and prevent them from protecting their sexual health. These inequalities directly and indirectly lead to the spread of the virus.

To see a list of other ways that domestic violence can put a victim at risk for HIV, click here.

There are many resources and places in DC to get help with domestic violence including shelters. No woman, regardless of her financial, living situation or HIV status, has to suffer from violence. The Metropolitan Police Department is a great place to start. Click here to see what they can do for you. If you need help finding shelter, resources, or legal advice, click here.

If you're looking to get involved, check out The DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Get help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence. Love doesn't hurt.

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