Maxwell, L., Devries, K., Zionts, D., et al. PLOS ONE (February 2015), doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118234. eCollection 2015.
Studies from a number of countries have demonstrated that intimate partner violence (IPV) is associated with negative women’s reproductive health outcomes, specifically those linked to contraceptive use, such as rapid repeat pregnancy, unintended pregnancy, pregnancy termination, and HIV infection. The authors of the study conducted a systematic review to estimate the causal effect of IPV on contraceptive use. Analysis of the 12 eligible articles showed that, overall, IPV had an impact on women’s use of contraception. IPV was associated with a decrease in women’s use of partner-dependent methods; women who experienced IPV were less likely to report that their male partners used condoms than women who did not. However, the authors also noted that the specific context influenced the association between IPV and contraceptive use. In Nicaragua, for example, open access to contraceptive methods and the wide cultural acceptability of contraception may mean that women who experience IPV are more likely to use contraception than women who do not. The authors concluded that more research was needed to define the relationship between IPV and women’s use of modern contraceptive methods so as to better understand women’s adoption of contraception. Additionally, because sexual and physical IPV can affect contraceptive use differently, the authors called for new research to clarify these effects.