Abuse of women and girls can increase their risk for becoming infected with HIV. Upwards of 50% of abused women report having experienced forced sex – a well-established high risk factor for HIV infection. Once infected, women living with HIV who are also suffering abuse may experience escalation of violence upon disclosure of their status – resulting in potentially lethal outcomes due to stigma and misinformation. Intimate partner violence (IPV) can also prevent women living with HIV from accessing necessary treatment and care, and the stress caused by abuse can further compromise their immune systems and accelerate the progression of the disease.
From HIV prevention to treatment and long term care, health care providers have many opportunities to reduce the isolation of women who are being victimized by intimate partners and increase their options for safety and better health. System-wide approaches can be developed to address the needs of women living with HIV and IPV in a variety of ways:
- universal healthy relationship education and violence prevention programming to engage all patients in thinking about what they deserve in their relationships,
- integrating IPV screening into pre-test counseling and post-test counseling for HIV that includes lethality assessments and safer partner notification protocols, and
- recognizing the impact of IPV on treatment adherence and the ability to consistently attend medical appointments.
Futures Without Violence is working with partners throughout the country to lift up programs and ideas that work to expand a trauma-informed approach to HIV testing, counseling, treatment and care.
- The Facts on Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS
- HIV/AIDS and Domestic Violence: Coercive Factors, this is an adaptation of the power and control wheel developed by the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
- Christie’s Place, a leading nonprofit social service organization that provides comprehensive HIV/AIDS education, support, and advocacy to women, children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS. They are committed to trauma-informed approaches to HIV/AIDS treatment and care.
- The Intersection of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and HIV, coordinated by Cardea, this independent learning module explores the intersection of IPV and HIV in a family planning setting. There is growing evidence that clients who have HIV are at higher risk for IPV, and clients who are victims of IPV face higher risks for HIV. This training offers providers knowledge, skills, and tools to enhance their screening in order to identify “red flags” for IPV and HIV. It also offers risk reduction tools to use when HIV or IPV risk factors are present.
- Addressing the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence against Women and Girls, & Gender–Related Health Disparities
- DV and HIV/AIDS toolkit, this toolkit developed by NNEDV, aims to provide domestic violence and HIV/AIDS service providers with information and resources to enhance services for persons exposed to HIV/AIDS and domestic violence. The information provided here addresses frequently asked questions, common challenges, best practices, templates for adaptation, and resources for additional information and assistance.
- Creating a Culture of Acceptance: Abuse, HIV, and Women in Shelter, developed by National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV), this e-Learning module provides an overview of current research on the prevalence of STIs/HIV among women and girls in the United States. It discusses specific strategies for crisis counselors, Domestic Violence (DV) advocates and shelter managers to help HIV positive survivors residing in domestic violence shelters regain control of their health and their lives. It also demonstrates how to create an environment of acceptance and support that de-stigmatizes HIV positive women.
This video provides an overview of the structural drivers of the HIV epidemic worldwide.