Mitigating Intimate Partner Violence among South African Women Testing HIV Positive during Mobile Counseling and Testing

November 2017 - Structural Prevention

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Brown, L.L., Van Zyl, M.A.R. AIDS Care (July 2017), doi: 10.1080/09540121.2017.1366414.

This clinical trial tested an assessment and protocol among 255 women who had experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) and tested HIV-positive during mobile counseling and testing in South Africa. Women in the control group (n=83) received the standard of care (SOC) including mobile testing, “edutainment,” and call center linkages to care. Women in the intervention group (n=167) received SOC plus either a risk assessment and safety plan, or a risk assessment, safety plan, and a follow-up safety plan. During the pre-test, almost all women reported nonviolent controlling acts; 41 percent reported physical abuse, 45 percent sexual abuse, and 67 percent physical or sexual abuse. Nearly 42 percent linked to services within 30 days of testing. SOC group participants were less likely to link to care (particularly women ≤23 years, and 33¬–44 years) than in either of the intervention groups. The majority found the intervention as helpful, and 80 percent reported using at least one safety strategy. Intervention participants experienced less violence than SOC group participants (98 percent versus 88 percent) when notifying their partner of their HIV status; but women in both groups reported still feeling unsafe getting to medical appointments. The authors concluded that women in the intervention groups were four times less likely to experience violence after they notified their partner, but given the small effect size, more research is needed.

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