209248 Perceptions of key barriers to providing HIV/AIDS training and testing referral services: Domestic Violence Agency Directors' Perspectives

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:30 AM

Amelia J. Cobb, MPH , President, The Wright Group, Washington, DC
Karen A. McDonnell, PhD , Prevention and Community Health, George Washington University SPHHS, Washington, DC
BACKGROUND: Female victims of domestic violence are vulnerable to contracting HIV/AIDS because many are unable to protect themselves from their potentially infected partners. Unlike those in non-abusive relationships, survivors do not have the liberty to negotiate safe-sex practices such as using condoms or practicing abstinence.

METHODS: The Partnership to Reduce Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and HIV conducted a nationwide online survey with domestic violence (DV) agencies to learn about practices and barriers to providing mandatory HIV/AIDS counseling, testing and referral training to their agency staff.

The information collected was voluntarily provided by directors and supervisors of DV agencies. The purpose of the survey was to identify and analyze the barriers facing IPV agencies in providing mandatory training for their staff to learn basic HIV/AIDS prevention education. Additional questions were asked about the current practices of providing HIV/AIDS education and prevention information to female survivors, how DV agencies assess a female client's risk of HIV/AIDS, where they currently refer women who are HIV positive and what organizational confidentiality policies and procedures are in place that support a client in obtaining local HIV/AIDS testing and treatment services available to them.

RESULTS/CONCLUSION: Over 50 organizations participated. The initial findings of the survey imply that while DV agencies could serve as promising agents for reducing HIV risk among female survivors, DV agency staff lack basic HIV/AIDS prevention education. Coupled with this, the documentation of HIV/AIDS confidentiality policies and protocols for positive female clients is minimal to nonexistent.

Learning Objectives:
Explain the intersection of HIV/AIDS and intimate partner violence among women. Describe the barriers for IPV directors and senior management to providing mandatory HIV/AIDS prevention education training for direct service staff. Discuss the need for IPV agencies to incorporate HIV education and testing information in shelter and non-residential outreach programs.

Keywords: Women and HIV/AIDS, Domestic Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the Primary Researcher and Director of the Partnership to Reduce IPV and HIV for the past three years.
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: Contemporary Issues in HIV Testing
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