Partner Violence and Sexual HIV-risk Behaviors Among Women in an Inner-City Emergency Department

Violence Vict. Winter 1998;13(4):377-93.


This study examines the relationship between partner violence and sexual risk behaviors in a sample of predominantly Latina and African American women who sought medical care from a New York City hospital emergency department. Eligibility criteria selected women between the ages of 18 and 55, who were sexually active in the past 90 days, and were triaged to nonemergency care. The interview addressed demographics, partner violence, childhood abuse, sexual behavior, and drug and alcohol use. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to assess the association between partner violence and history of having a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and of having sex with a risky partner. Nearly one half of the 143 respondents (46.1%, n = 66) reported that they had experienced physical, sexual, or life-threatening abuse by a boyfriend or spouse in the past and 17.5% reported that abuse had occurred within the past year. In the univariate analyses, abused women were more likely than nonabused women to report having had an STD; engaging in sex with a risky partner; having more than one sexual partner; and being tested for HIV. After controlling for confounding variables, abused women were almost five times more likely than their counterparts to have reported an STD and four times more likely to engage in sex with a risky sexual partner. The relationship between partner violence and sexual risk behaviors among women seeking treatment in an emergency department suggests the need for the development of HIV-risk reduction strategies that address the needs of women in abusive relationships.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Battered Women / education*
  • Battered Women / psychology*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Hospitals, Urban
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sexual Behavior / ethnology*
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires