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The Link Between HIV and Domestic Violence

domestic violence
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"Improving our understanding of the relationship between intimate partner violence and HIV is essential," a Canadian researcher states.

A new study find women who experience intimate partner violence are three times more likely to contract HIV. Regions like sub-Sarahan Africa show the highest prevalence of IPV and HIV worldwide, and sub-Sarahan African women accounted for 63 percent of new HIV infections in 2020.

The full report, posted on The Lancet, showed a pooled analysis of nationally representative surveys in the region — 57 surveys with information on self-reported HIV testing and past-year physical or sexual IPV from 30 different countries showed that IPV was associated with both the recent increase in HIV diagnoses and a drop in viral suppression.

“Worldwide, more than one in four women experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime,” Mathieu Maheu-Giroux, McGill University Professer, Canada Research Chair in Population Health Modeling said on News Medical. “Sub-Saharan Africa is among one of the regions in the world with the highest prevalence of both IPV and HIV. We wanted to examine the effects of intimate partner violence on recent HIV infections and women’s access to HIV care in this region.”

The study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canada Research Chairs Program, and Fonds de recherché due Québec-Santé, also highlights the overlap between violence against women and the HIV epidemics in some of the higher-burdened countries.

“The 2021 UN General Assembly, attended and supported by the Government of Canada, adopted the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS with bold new global targets for 2025,” said Maheu-Giroux. “This encompasses a commitment to eliminate all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, including IPV, as a key enabler of the HIV epidemic. Improving our understanding of the relationship between IPV and HIV is essential to meet this commitment.”

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