HealthDay News — Past-year physical or sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) is associated with tripled risk of HIV infection and lower likelihood of viral load suppression among women in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a study published online in The Lancet HIV.

Salome Kuchukhidze, MPH, from the School of Population and Global Health at McGill University in Montreal, and colleagues examined the effects of IPV on recent HIV infection and women’s engagement in the HIV care cascade in sub-Saharan Africa. Analysis included survey responses from 280,259 ever-partnered women (aged 15 to 64 years, in 30 countries).

The researchers found that 21.2% of women had experienced physical or sexual IPV in the past year. The adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) for recent HIV infection among women who had experienced past-year physical or sexual IPV was 3.22 (95% confidence interval, 1.51 to 6.85; 19,179 women from 6 studies). There was minimal effect observed for past-year physical or sexual IPV on self-reported HIV testing in the past year (adjusted PR, 0.99; 95% confidence interval, 0.98 to 1.01; 274,506 women). Similarly, findings were inconclusive for the association of antiretroviral therapy uptake with past-year IPV among women living with HIV (adjusted PR, 0.96; 95% confidence interval, 0.90 to 1.02; 5,629 women). However, women living with HIV who had experienced physical or sexual IPV in the past year were less likely to achieve viral load suppression vs women who had not experienced past-year IPV (adjusted PR, 0.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.84 to 0.98; 5627 women).


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“Preventing IPV is inherently imperative but eliminating IPV could contribute to ending the HIV epidemic,” the authors write.

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