199310 Abuse, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and HIV Risk Behavior: A Cross-Sectional Study of Women In Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tessa Minchen Andermann, MPH , School of Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
The levels of HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa remain the highest in the world despite declining global HIV incidence rates. Sub-Saharan African women are almost three times more likely to be infected with HIV than men; however, we know very little about the factors associated with HIV transmission among women. Previous research in the United States suggests that trauma history and trauma symptoms are associated with HIV risk behavior. What little research has been conducted in Africa suggests that trauma and psychological distress are also associated with HIV risk behavior, although no studies have been conducted among women living in Zimbabwe, Africa. Therefore, this study sought to examine trauma and abuse, psychological distress, and HIV risk behavior in a cross-sectional assessment of 200 women attending antenatal clinics in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. 37% of the women screened positive for PTSD. Scores on the PTSD screening tool were found to be correlated with greater abuse severity, being HIV positive, sexual risk taking, and a greater number of partners in the past year. 49% of the women also report having ever been abused, with 30% being afraid of their partner. Abuse severity was significantly associated with PTSD and with the number of sexual partners in the past year. In addition, abuse was associated with HIV risk behavior regardless of the PTSD status of the women in this particular sample. Future research is needed to determine which factors that mediate this relationship are also amenable to treatment and intervention among women in Zimbabwe.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe contributing factors to the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe among women 2. Compare a U.S.-based screening tool for PTSD with one developed in Zimbabwe

Keywords: HIV Risk Behavior, Women

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a third-year medical student at Stanford with a masters degree in public health and previous research in infectious disease. I have received a grant from IDSA in support of this research in Zimbabwe which I have designed and conducted with the help of Dr. Gore-Felton, a psychologist and researcher at Stanford, and an expert in the field of PTSD and HIV risk behavior. In addition, my research has been conducted in concert with the Zimbabwe AIDS Prevention Project, a local organization working with researchers from Stanford and UCSF to enable necessary research on AIDS prevention and treatment in Zimbabwe.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: HIV in International Settings
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