Prevention programs that incorporate both HIV and intimate partner violence (IPV) prevention effectively reduce violence against women and HIV infection incidents when compared to HIV counseling alone, according to a recent study performed by Uganda’s Rakai Health Services Program.
The study measured outcomes from more than 11,000 men and women between the ages of 15 and 49 over a four year period. Women who received IPV intervention programming from the Safe Homes and Respect for Everyone (SHARE) project alongside HIV prevention counseling experienced significant reductions in physical and sexual IPV as well as HIV infection, in contrast to those who received only HIV programming. Additionally, integrated programming led to decreased reports of spousal rape and increased HIV disclosure. However, it did not impact men’s reported perpetration of domestic violennce.
At least 47 percent of adult women have been sexual assaulted by an intimate partner during their lifetime, according to the World Health Organization. Nearly 70 percent of women experience physical abuse at some point in their lives. Studies have shown a complex relationship between IPV and HIV: women who experience IPV are at greater risk of contracting HIV, and those with HIV are likewise at greater risk of experiencing IPV. Victims of IPV are also more likely to take risks such as failing to use condoms or seek HIV testing, often due to coerced intercourse and fear of violence.
Compiled from: Leach-Lemens, Carole, Intimate partner violence intervention reduces HIV incidence and violence against women, Aids Map (August 7, 2014).