Background Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a public health problem of unknown magnitude. Several studies have been performed to examine the prevalence of IPV in the context of persons living with HIV (PLWH) and have found socioeconomic, ethnic, and gender implications. The purpose of this study is to examine the prevalence of IPV among PLWH in different risk factor subgroups, eg, men who have sex with men (MSM) and PLWH related to high-risk heterosexual behavior (HRH).
Methods Patients presenting at the University of Kentucky HIV Clinic were asked to complete a voluntary, IRB-approved questionnaire regarding their physical and mental health. Specifically, participants were asked whether or not theye had experienced IPV in the past year. Affirmative responses were analyzed with respect to HIV risk category by simple means, standard deviations, and multiple regression approaches solving for gender, income, and education.
Results Of the 123 surveys delivered, 102 (82.9%) were returned. Sixty-four respondents (67%) recorded MSM as their risk, 13 (14%) indicated HRH, and 19 (18.6%) were nonsexual risk factors or did not know. Only one person in the latter group (5.5%) reported IPV. Of those in the MSM subgroup, 11.1 6 32% reported experiencing IPV in the last year vs 36.4 6 50% in the HRH subgroup (p = .04). Gender, income, and education were not signficant predictors in several regression models.
Conclusions These data suggest that IPV among PLWH is significantly more common in the HRH subgroup than the MSM subgroup. Previous studies have found the risk of violence in a woman's lifetime to be 20-30% and violence prevalence in MSM relationships of about 40%. This study is limited by the relatively low proportion of HRH in the sample population as well as being conducted at a single institution. Nevertheless, when compared to national data, PLWH exposed through HRH have a very high rate of IPV even when controlling for gender, income, and education. Further research should be conducted on this subgroup to determine other aspects of this vulnerable population that may be neglected or overlooked.
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