10 Things about Intimate Partner Violence and HIV You Should Know

 

The connection between IPV and HIV is appalling. The
statistics for each of these two public health concerns individually already
have alarming numbers. When they intersect, these same numbers double, even
triple in some cases. Why should you know about this? IPV and HIV are more
common than people know. Read here for more insight. In addition are 10 more
reasons why your awareness on these two traumatic conditions should be
heightened.

61% of Women with HIV have been sexually assaulted.
That’s 5 times the national rate according to AIDS and
Behavior. One aspect of this disturbing statistic is that IPV alone is a risk
factor for contracting HIV. Women who suffer from IPV are more likely to expose
themselves in a way that will increase their risk for contracting HIV; this
includes having sex without protection, sexual contact with an infected male
partner and having anal sex without protection.
Women who have HIV are more unlikely to take care of
themselves when suffering from IPV.
This means that women who are HIV positive are more likely to
stray from the care regimen set in place for them and their condition. This can
lead to acceleration of HIV’s progress on their bodies causing further decline
of their immune system.

 

 
Women with HIV suffering from IPV are more likely to experience treatment failure.
This happens for several reasons. Once diagnosed with HIV, they take longer to seek the care they need. Victims of IPV are also more likely to discontinue their treatment for HIV, causing the disease to progress in their bodies as mentioned earlier. This also means there’s a higher transmission risk among HIV positive women.
 
The violence rate is higher than the overall national
average.

 

Women living with HIV in the United States alone experience
a significantly higher rate of violence than the general population. Over half
of these women have experienced IPV. This leads to 30% of those women that
experience post-traumatic stress disorder. That’s still higher than the
national rate.
Being HIV positive can trigger IPV in relationships.
Women who disclose HIV status to their partner or someone
they’ve been intimate with are more likely to be physically abused by their
partner. Some cases have even led to death upon learning that the partner had
HIV.
The percentage of rapes against women that are committed by a former or current partner or acquaintance.
 
Women with HIV suffering from IPV are more likely to
experience treatment failure.
This happens for several reasons. Once diagnosed with HIV,
they take longer to seek the care they need. Victims of IPV are also more
likely to discontinue their treatment for HIV, causing the disease to progress
in their bodies as mentioned earlier. This also means there’s a higher
transmission risk among HIV positive women.
The Affordable Care Act and Intimate Partner Violence:
There are certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act (passed
in 2010) that are designed specifically to address IPV. In the past, insurance
companies had the option to deny survivors of IPV who were seeking medical
care. Some states allowed insurance companies to execute this act, with some suiting
up with IPV related anti-discrimination protection. With the Affordable Care
Act, those practices can no longer be in place. Insurance companies can no
longer deny coverage to IPV survivors. Gender, age and past IPV history can no
longer be used to discriminate in terms of health insurance coverage. This
comes in as especially critical in caring for those who’ve been diagnosed with
HIV.
Prevention is better than cure.
Free screening services are now available, along with IPV
counseling services. These preventive services can take place during routine
medical visits and exams. This benefit of the Affordable Care Act comes with
several features:
  • Physicians can ask a series of questions about the patient’s
    past and present relationships – that is if IPV is an issue during the
    screening session.
  • If IPV or Domestic Violence is confirmed, the patient’s
    safety is assessed and resources are implemented for the patient immediately
  • Most private health plans and all Medicaid programs must
    provide these services for free.

 

IPV and Teenagers:
The CDC has developed a program, Dating Matters, which is
designed specifically to address teen dating violence-prevention. It has been
in effect for the past 3 years. The program is in place to help and evaluate
teenagers from middle school through high school. More information can be found
at the CDC
Dating Matters Initiative page
.
The bad news
IPV and HIV continue to increase. IPV alone costs billions every year in the occupational arena. Because of days missed at work by IPV victims, companies loose millions due to lack of production.
The good news
Steps are being taken at the federal level to address this issue. Many preventive and care programs are in the process of being funded to provide aid to those suffering from IPV. Many of the programs are targeted to HIV victims because of the strong ties to IPV.
For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Aids United.

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