Domestic violence twice as likely to start for pregnant women after HIV diagnosis

July 31, 2017 by Frank Otto
Credit: Drexel University

A diagnosis of HIV during pregnancy makes domestic violence twice as likely to start for some women after their baby has been born, according to new research led by a Drexel University researcher.

Ali Groves, PhD, research assistant professor in Drexel's Dornsife School of Public Health, found that among who have not had a history of , those who were diagnosed with HIV are twice as likely to suffer it afterward compared to women who are not diagnosed with HIV.

"It is valuable to have a picture of who is at risk because intimate partner negatively affects HIV positive women's ability to adhere to their medications and to engage in care, both of which can negatively affect their health and well-being, as well as the well-being of their infants," said Groves. "Better knowing who's at risk means we can implement prevention interventions in the antenatal and postnatal clinic setting to positively impact their health."

The study, published in AIDS and Behavior, used data from an urban township in the KwaZuluNatal Province of South Africa, the province that experiences the highest HIV prevalence in the country. Numbers were collected from 1,015 women in steady (six months or more) relationships at the time of collection.

"We believe this research will translate beyond South Africa because relationship factors that contribute to HIV positive women's vulnerability to intimate partner violence are not unique to just that country," Groves explained.

Groves and her team actually began the study with the hypothesis that women who were diagnosed with HIV during pregnancy and had already experienced violence in their relationship would be more likely to have that violence increase.

But the data showed that the women who didn't previously have a history of violence in their relationship were twice as likely to experience violence after the HIV diagnosis during their pregnancy.

The women who had already experienced violence in their relationship saw no significant change following their HIV diagnosis in pregnancy—so while the levels of violence they experienced didn't increase, it didn't decrease, either.

"This suggests that something about the HIV positive diagnosis is bringing stress into the relationship for those without a history of intimate partner violence," Groves said. "On the other hand, in those with a history of intimate partner violence, there was no difference in risk between HIV positive and HIV negative women. This suggests that the HIV positive diagnosis may not be new source of anger or increased stress, as it may have already been suspected."

Given their findings, Groves and her team feel that more intervention efforts should be targeted at women who haven't already experienced it. These efforts could even be built into programs already being given on how to prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child.

And since the study showed that violence levels in women who already had a history of it stayed relatively steady, interventions for them remain just as important.

"As we found, women with a of intimate partner violence continue to experience it postpartum," Groves said. "Intimate violence has significant negative consequences for both women and their children during the period before and after pregnancy, and these consequences are not limited to HIV positive women. As such, effective interventions to reduce women's risk of violence are desperately needed."

Explore further: Threat of firearm use affects PTSD symptoms among female victims of partner violence

More information: Allison K. Groves et al, HIV Positive Diagnosis During Pregnancy Increases Risk of IPV Postpartum Among Women with No History of IPV in Their Relationship, AIDS and Behavior (2017). DOI: 10.1007/s10461-017-1868-5

Related Stories

Threat of firearm use affects PTSD symptoms among female victims of partner violence

April 10, 2017
A new study shows that the threat of firearm use by a male partner in an intimate relationship is a significant predictor of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity in women, independent of other forms of interpersonal ...

Abused caregivers have double chance of poor health

May 22, 2017
Women who become caregivers after experiencing intimate partner violence face a double-whammy hit to their health, University of Queensland research shows.

Link found between intimate partner violence and termination of pregnancy

January 7, 2014
Intimate partner violence in women (sometimes referred to as domestic violence) is linked to termination of pregnancy, according to a study by UK researchers published in this week's PLOS Medicine. The study, led by Susan ...

More than half of murdered U.S. women killed by partners, exes

July 24, 2017
(HealthDay)—Most women murdered in the United States die at the hands of a current or former intimate partner, according to research published in the July 21 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's ...

New study examines sexual violence against college women with disabilities

May 15, 2017
Patterns of sexual violence and intimate partner violence aimed at female college students with a mental health-related or behavioral disability and the health effects of this abuse are presented in a new study published ...

Researchers report connection between intimate partner violence and barriers to cancer recovery

February 23, 2017
Researchers in the UK College of Public Health, UK College of Medicine and Center for Research on Violence Against Women collaborated on a recent study indicating victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) experience poorer ...

Recommended for you

New injectable antiretroviral treatment proved to be as effective as standard oral therapy

August 3, 2017
Intramuscularly administered antiretroviral therapy (ART) may be as effective for HIV treatment as current oral therapies. This is the main conclusion of a Phase II clinical trial carried out by 50 research centers around ...

Research finds home-based kit would increase HIV testing

July 31, 2017
Research led by William Robinson, PhD, Associate Research Professor of Behavioral & Community Health Sciences at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health, has found that 86% of heterosexuals who are at high risk for ...

Scientists divulge latest in HIV prevention

July 25, 2017
A far cry from the 1990s "ABC" campaign promoting abstinence and monogamy as HIV protection, scientists reported on new approaches Tuesday allowing people to have all the safe sex they want.

Girl's HIV infection seems under control without AIDS drugs

July 24, 2017
A South African girl born with the AIDS virus has kept her infection suppressed for more than eight years after stopping anti-HIV medicines—more evidence that early treatment can occasionally cause a long remission that, ...

Meds by monthly injection might revolutionize HIV care (Update)

July 24, 2017
Getting a shot of medication to control HIV every month or two instead of having to take pills every day could transform the way the virus is kept at bay.

Candidate AIDS vaccine passes early test

July 24, 2017
The three-decade-old quest for an AIDS vaccine received a shot of hope Monday when developers announced that a prototype triggered the immune system in an early phase of human trials.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.