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Sex Transm Dis. 2002 Jul;29(7):411-6.

Intimate partner violence and high-risk sexual behaviors among female patients with sexually transmitted diseases.

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Center for Reproductive Health Research and Policy, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.



Victimization by intimate partner violence (IPV) may play an important role in sexual decision-making, increasing the risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV.


To explore the relationship between IPV and high-risk sexual behaviors, substance abuse, partners who had sex outside the relationship, and history of STD among women attending an STD clinic.


A self-administered survey of patients attending a public STD clinic in San Francisco was conducted from October 1996 to March 1997. Topics included STD history, sexual risk behaviors, partner violence history, partner characteristics, and demographics. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the independent effect of IPV on STD risk factors.


Overall, 2115 patients participated, for a response rate of 96%. Data were analyzed for a subgroup of 409 female patients who reported recent male sexual partners. Among these women, 11% reported IPV in the past 12 months; lifetime history of IPV was 24%. A history of IPV was associated with a self-reported history of STD (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 2.15; 95% CI, 1.23-3.77). IPV in the past 12 months was associated with alcohol or drug use before sex (adjusted OR, 2.36; 95% CI, 1.17-4.77) and main partners who had sex outside the relationship (adjusted OR, 3.75; 95% CI, 1.94-7.26).


IPV is common among female STD patients and is associated with risk behaviors and partner factors that increase patients' risk of contracting STD and HIV. Screening and referral for IPV should be routinely conducted for female patients attending STD clinics.

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