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Sex Transm Dis. 2001 Mar;28(3):143-7.

Domestic violence reported by women attending a sexually transmitted disease clinic.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, State University of New York, Health Science Center at Brooklyn, 11203, USA.



Domestic violence occurs across all social, demographic, and economic strata of society, though women who report it are disproportionately young, unmarried, live with a male friend or family member other than a husband, engage in substance abuse, and are poor.


To assess the prevalence of domestic violence among a sample of women presenting for care at a sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic, and to identify behavioral and clinical correlates of domestic violence in this group.


Women attending an inner-city STD clinic were asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire that ascertained demographic, clinical, and behavioral information. Questions regarding recent and lifetime physical and verbal abuse by a social intimate were included. Standard diagnostic tests and therapy for a variety of genitourinary infections were provided when indicated as a matter of routine care.


Three hundred and seventy-five female clinic attendees completed the questionnaire. One hundred and forty one (37.6%) women reported ever having experienced physical assault by an intimate, and 123 (32.8%) reported verbal threats of violence. Fifty-eight (15.5%) women reported at least one episode of physical abuse in the year preceding participation. A report of physical violence was associated with drug use, STD history, and a history of a serious medical condition (P < 0.05).


The high prevalence of domestic violence among women seeking care at an inner-city STD clinic suggests that these sites may be important for the detection of abuse victims. Clinic staff should be trained to inquire about domestic violence. On-site or referred resources (e.g., legal, social, clinical) should be made available to these women.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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