Intimate Partner Violence and HIV in Ten Sub-Saharan African Countries: What Do the Demographic and Health Surveys Tell Us?

January 2015 - Structural Prevention

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Durevall, D., Lindskog, A. The Lancet Global Health (November 2014), doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X (14)70343-2, E-publication.

This study systematically analyzed the association between intimate partner violence (IPV) and HIV in women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. The authors used data from 2014 Demographic and Health (DHS) surveys to determine the conditions in which the association between IPV and HIV infection was recorded. These DHS datasets, nationally representative for women aged 15–49 years, included HIV testing and a complete domestic violence module. The authors collected data (findings from blood spot samples from eligible men and binary indicators [yes or no] from eligible women in randomly selected households) to assess physical, sexual, and emotional violence, controlling behavior, and combinations of the above; and compared these indicators in IPV-exposed women with those in non-exposed women. The findings confirmed that IPV was associated with significantly higher risk of HIV among women. Analysis of risks by indicator also revealed details about the effects of specific male behavior. For example, controlling male behavior and physical and emotional violence increased the probability of HIV infection for all women, whereas sexual violence was a significant HIV risk only in the sample of women in their first union. The authors concluded that HIV prevention programs in high HIV prevalence areas should focus on men with controlling behavior in addition to those with violent behavior.

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