The intersections of HIV and violence: directions for future research and interventions

Soc Sci Med. 2000 Feb;50(4):459-78. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(99)00270-1.


The purpose of this paper is to review the available literature on the intersections between HIV and violence and present an agenda for future research to guide policy and programs. This paper aims to answer four questions: (1) How does forced sex affect women's risk for HIV infection? (2) How do violence and threats of violence affect women's ability to negotiate condom use? (3) Is the risk of violence greater for women living with HIV infection than for noninfected women? (4) What are the implications of the existing evidence for the direction of future research and interventions? Together this collection of 29 studies from the US and from sub-Saharan Africa provides evidence for several different links between the epidemics of HIV and violence. However, there are a number of methodological limitations that can be overcome with future studies. First, additional prospective studies are needed to describe the ways which violence victimization may increase women's risk for HIV and how being HIV positive affects violence risk. Future studies need to describe men's perspective on both HIV risk and violence in order to develop effective interventions targeting men and women. The definitions and tools for measurement of concepts such as physical violence, forced sex, HIV risk, and serostatus disclosure need to be harmonized in the future. Finally, combining qualitative and quantitative research methods will help to describe the context and scope of the problem. The service implications of these studies are significant. HIV counseling and testing programs offer a unique opportunity to identify and assist women at risk for violence and to identify women who may be at high risk for HIV as a result of their history of assault. In addition, violence prevention programs, in settings where such programs exist, also offer opportunities to counsel women about their risks for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Research
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*