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J Interpers Violence. 2018 Apr 1:886260518768564. doi: 10.1177/0886260518768564. [Epub ahead of print]

Prior Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence Associated With Less HIV Testing Among Young Women.

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1 Christiana Care Health Services, Newark, DE, USA.
2 University of Delaware, Newark, USA.
3 University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.
4 N.O.R.T.H., Inc., Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Low-income minority women are disproportionately represented among those living with HIV in the United States. They are also at risk for the SAVA (substance abuse, violence, and HIV/AIDS) syndemic issues. Women who have recently given birth are at high risk for substance use and intimate partner violence (IPV), and HIV testing is not routinely administered during the postpartum visit. We explored the relationship between substance use, IPV, and HIV testing among low-income young adult women attending Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a federally supported nutrition program. A survey assessed substance use, relationships in particular with violence exposure, and HIV testing behavior in the past 6 months among a convenience sample of 100 women aged 18 to 30. The survey was conducted at several WIC offices in an urban setting in the Mid-Atlantic region between June and December 2015. Physical violence was the only IPV variable significantly associated ( p = .022) with not being tested for HIV in the past 6 months, remaining significant even after adjusting for demographic and other significant variables (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.02; 95% confidence interval [CI] = [0.00, 0.41]). Women exposed to physical IPV or psychological IPV in the past year were significantly more likely to have ever used an illicit drug (physical IPV: 34% vs. 59%, p = .052; psychological IPV: 22% vs. 53%. p = .002). These findings between physical IPV and HIV testing history highlight the need to further understand how the context of violence affects HIV testing behaviors. Providing convenient, safe, and accessible HIV testing sites in spaces like WIC may increase HIV testing rates overall and specifically among women experiencing IPV.


HIV testing; intimate partner violence; substance use; women

[Available on 2019-10-01]

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