Background: A US study reported lifetime intimate partner violence (IPV) in 73% of their HIV positive patients with 20% reporting current abuse. Rates were highest among African-Americans and in men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM). A recent UK study found higher IPV rates amongst HIV positive women compared with the general population. Numerous African studies report similar findings. The UK study found associations between IVP and younger age, black individuals born outside of Africa and mental health problems. There is limited data about the experience of IPV in HIV positive men and HIV positive MSM, in addition to patients of non-black ethnicities.
Methods: 500 patients attending HIV clinics between November 2013 and April 2014 in two large UK level 3 sexual health services completed a questionnaire designed using a validated tool for assessing current experience of IPV (emotional, physical, sexual). The rate of IPV with confidence intervals was calculated. Multivariate analysis was used to identify known risk factors helping to predict IPV in this population. In addition, data for women and men was analysed separately.
Results: Preliminary results suggest that IPV was most prevalent in HIV positive young women who were in a heterosexual relationship. HIV positive MSM were at higher risk of IPV than HIV positive heterosexual men. Risk factors for IPV were having a low income household, increased number of children, unemployment and young age of HIV diagnosis. Full results will be available by the conference.
Conclusions: HIV-positive patients regardless of their sexual orientation and/or ethnicity are at risk of IPV. Rates of IPV in HIV positive patients were higher than published rates in HIV negative people. Healthcare professionals working with patients with HIV should screen for IPV and direct patients to organizations concerned with assisting people at risk of IPV.