Objectives: We determined the prevalence of recent emotional, physical, and sexual violence against women and their associations with HIV-related risk factors in women living in the United States.
Methods: We performed an assessment of women ages 18 to 44 years with a history of unprotected sex and 1 or more personal or partner HIV risk factors in the past 6 months from 2009 to 2010. We used multivariable logistic regression to examine the association of experiencing violence.
Results: Among 2099 women, the prevalence of emotional abuse, physical violence, and sexual violence in the previous 6 months was 31%, 19%, and 7%, respectively. Nonmarried status, food insecurity, childhood abuse, depression symptomology, and posttraumatic stress disorder were significantly associated with multiple types of violence. All types of violence were associated with at least 3 different partner or personal HIV risk behaviors, including unprotected anal sex, previous sexually transmitted infection diagnosis, sex work, or partner substance abuse.
Conclusions: Our data suggested that personal and partner HIV risk behaviors, mental illness, and specific forms of violence frequently co-occurred in the lives of impoverished women. We shed light on factors purported to contribute to a syndemic in this population. HIV prevention programs in similar populations should address these co-occurring issues in a comprehensive manner.