Clinical and mental health correlates and risk factors for intimate partner violence among HIV-positive women in an inner-city HIV clinic

Womens Health Issues. 2012 Nov-Dec;22(6):e563-9. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2012.07.007. Epub 2012 Aug 30.


Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious health concern for women in the United States, and HIV-positive women experience more frequent and severe abuse compared with HIV-negative women. The goals of this study were to determine the prevalence of IPV among HIV-infected women receiving care in an urban clinic and to determine the HIV clinical and mental health correlates of IPV among HIV-positive women.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey among 196 women visiting an inner-city HIV clinic. Women were eligible if they were 18 years of age or older, English speaking, and received both HIV primary and gynecologic care at the clinic. The survey queried demographics, drug and alcohol history, depressive symptoms, and IPV, using the Partner Violence Scale. Antiretroviral therapy (ART), CD4 cell count, HIV-1 RNA level, and appointment adherence were abstracted from clinical records.

Findings: Overall, 26.5% of women reported experiencing IPV in the past year. There were no differences in sociodemographics, substance use, ART prescription, CD4 count, or HIV-1 RNA level between women who experienced IPV and those who had not. Women with mild and severe depressive symptoms were significantly more likely to report IPV compared with those without, with adjusted odds ratios of 3.4 and 5.5, respectively. Women who missed gynecologic appointments were 1.9 times more likely to report experiencing IPV.

Conclusions: IPV is prevalent among women presenting for HIV care, and depressive symptoms or missed gynecologic appointments should prompt further screening for IPV.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Attitude to Health
  • Baltimore / epidemiology
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology
  • Domestic Violence / psychology*
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV-1
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents