Online Program

Relational factors and HIV risk among African American women who experience gender-based violence

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rachael Wendlandt, B.A., US Health, Abt Associates, Atlanta, GA
Laura F. Salazar, PhD, Rollins School of Public Health and Center for AIDS Research, Emory Univeristy, Atlanta, GA
Alejandra Mijares, MPH, U.S. Health Division, Public Health and Epidemiology, Abt Associates, Atlanta, GA
Nicole Pitts, B.S., Dynamics Research Corporation, Andover, MA
Background: Studies have shown that women who have experienced gender-based violence (GBV) are at increased risk for HIV infection. In 2010, African American women accounted for 73% of all female cases of HIV in Georgia while also experiencing GBV at a rate of 40%. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively analyze relational factors of women who experienced GBV and how those factors contribute to an increased risk for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS.

Methods: In-depth semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 53 African American women recruited from two areas of high risk for HIV in Atlanta, and who reported experiencing GBV in the previous 12 months. Two researchers independently coded transcripts using NVivo 10. Additionally, participants were tested for three non-viral STIs.

Results: Summary themes from the qualitative interviews revealed the role of relational factors that may place women at an increased risk for STIs and HIV/AIDS (examples of themes are provided): emotional abuse (e.g. partner coercion); communication features (e.g. lack of mutual discussion); presence of stereotypical gender roles (e.g. she is expected to do all household work); and sexual dynamics (e.g. condom use and frequency of sexual intercourse surrounding GBV instances). Furthermore, participants tested positive for chlamydia (9.4%), gonorrhea (7.5%), and trichomoniasis (28.3%).

Conclusions: Findings will further our understanding of the mechanisms that place women who experience GBV at increased risk for HIV. Information gleaned from this study can direct future prevention efforts for programs targeting reducing risk of sexually transmitted infections in African American women.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Define gender-based violence. Describe how gender-based violence affects women’s sexual health. Explain how programs targeting African American women to reduce their risk of sexually transmitted infections including HIV must also address the role of gender-based violence.

Keyword(s): HIV Risk Behavior, Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently an MPH student at Georgia State University's Institute of Public Health. Among my scientific interests has been addressing social determinants of health in the development of strategies for preventing HIV and STDs among specific populations. Additionally, I have experience with gender based violence by having interned for over a year at a rape and sexual abuse center.
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.

Back to: 3300.0: Sex, violence, and HIV