Intimate Partner Violence during Pregnancy in Zimbabwe: A Cross-Sectional Study of Prevalence, Predictors and Associations with HIV

April 2013 - Structural Prevention

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Shamu, S., Abrahams, N., Zarowsky, C., et al. Tropical Medicine & International Health (February 2013), e-publication ahead of print.

This cross-sectional study of 2,042 post-natal women in six low-income clinics in Harare, Zimbabwe determined the prevalence of and factors associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) during pregnancy. Forty-six percent of participants reported physical and/or sexual violence; 63 percent reported physical, sexual, and/or emotional violence. Approximately 30 percent reported three or more severe sexual violence events, and 10 percent reported six or more events during pregnancy. More IPV was reported if partners were younger and more educated, had multiple wives, did not pay a bride price, and did not live with families. IPV was more frequently reported if a woman or partner made an independent decision about pregnancy, a partner prevented contraception use, or if a woman did not desire/refused to become pregnant. Greater violence was reported by women who had more sexual partners, were treated for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) during pregnancy, ever had transactional sex, were HIV-positive, or had a partner with an STI but unknown HIV status. The study did not find associations between IPV and HIV infection. Further research should address the relationships between violence and reproductive health decision-making among couples, and between IPV and HIV status disclosure. It is vital to include men in reproductive health programs and to conduct interventions addressing gender norms and IPV.

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