Women living with HIV: Disclosure, violence, and social support
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
This paper describes the frequency of women's disclosure of their HIV status, examines the extent to which they experience adverse social and physical consequences when others learn they are infected, and analyzes correlates of these negative outcomes. There were 257 HIV-positive women between the ages of 18 and 44, recruited from HIV/AIDS primary care clinics and from community sites, who completed a face-to-face interview. Women in the sample were 33 years old on average; 92% were African-American; 54% had less than 12 yeas of education; 56% had used intravenous drugs; and 30% knew they were HIV positive for 5 or more years. There were 97% who disclosed their HIV status; 64% told more than 5 people. Negative consequences associated with others knowing they were HIV-positive were reported by 44%, most commonly the loss of friends (24%), being insulted or sworn at (23%), and being rejected by family (21%). There were 10 women (4%) who reported being physically or sexually assaulted as a result of their being HIV positive, and 16% reported having no one they could count on for money or a place to stay. Violence was widespread in this sample, with 62% having experienced physical or sexual violence, including sexual abuse or rape (27%), being beaten up (34%), and weapon-related violence (26%). Logistic regression analysis indicated that women with a history of physical and sexual violence were significantly more likely to experience negative social and physical consequences when their infection became known to others, adjusting for age and the number of people women had disclosed to, both of which were only marginally significant. Partner notification policies and support programs must be responsive to the potential negative consequences associated with others learning that a woman is HIV positive. The high rates of historical violence in the lives of women living with HIV underscore the need for routine screening and intervention for domestic violence in all settings that provide health care to HIV-positive women.
- Semple, SJ, Patterson, TL, Temoshok, LR (1993) Identification of psychobiological stressors among HIV-positive women. Women Health 20: pp. 15-36 CrossRef
- Lester, P, Partridge, JC, Chesney, MA, Cooke, M (1995) The consequences of a positive prenatal HIV antibody test for women. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol. 10: pp. 341-349
- Gillman RR, Newman BS. Psychosocial concerns and strengths of women with HIV infection: an empirical study.Fam Soc J Contemp Hum Serv 1996; 131–141.
- Gielen, AC, O'Campo, P, Faden, RR, Eke, A (1997) Women's disclosure of HIV status. Experiences of mistreatment and violence in an urban setting. Women Health 25: pp. 19-31 CrossRef
- Carter R. Disclosure of HIV serostatus to male sexual partners. Paper presented at:HIV and Women Conference; February 23, 1995; Washington, DC. Abstract TP481.
- Rothenberg, KH, Paskey, SJ, Reuland, MM, Zimmerman, SI, North, RL (1995) Domestic violence and partner notification: implications for treatment and counseling of women with HIV. J Am Med Womens Assoc. 50: pp. 87-93
- Vlahov, D, Wientge, D, Moore, J (1998) Violence among women with or at risk for HIV infection. AIDS Behav. 2: pp. 53-60 CrossRef
- Straus, MA, Hamby, SL, Boney-McCoy, S, Sugarman, DB (1996) The revised conflict tactics scales (CTS2): development and preliminary psychometric data. J Family Issues 17: pp. 283-316
- Shannon MT, Dahrough BM, Pantell RH, Landers DV. Domestic violence in HIV-infected pregnant women. Paper presented at:HIV and Women Conference; February 23, 1995; Washington, DC. Abstract TD 2-123.
- Zierler, S, Witbeck, B, Mayer, K (1996) Sexual violence against women living with or at risk for HIV infection. Am J Prev Med. 12: pp. 304-310
- Gin, NE, Rucker, L, Frayne, S, Cygan, R, Hubbell, FA (1991) Prevalence of domestic violence among patients in three ambulatory care internal medicine clinics. J Gen Intern Med. 6: pp. 317-322
- Brown, VB, Melchior, LA, Reback, CJ, Huba, GJ (1994) Mandatory partner notification of HIV test results: psychological and social issues for women. AIDS Public Policy J. Summer: pp. 86-92
- Gielen, AC, O'Campo, P, Faden, RR, Kass, NE, Xue, X (1994) Interpersonal conflict and physical violence during the childbearing year. Soc Sci Med. 39: pp. 781-787 CrossRef
- Women living with HIV: Disclosure, violence, and social support
Journal of Urban Health
Volume 77, Issue 3 , pp 480-491
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- Disclosure and Partner Notification
- Domestic Violence
- Social Support
- Women's Health
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Health Policy and Management, Center for Injury Research and Policy, John Hopkins University, School of Public Health, 624 North Broadway, 21205, Baltimore, MD
- 2. School of Public Health, Department of Maternal and Child Health, Johns Hopkins University, 624 North Broadway, 21205, Baltimore, MD
- 3. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, 624 North Broadway, 21205, Baltimore, MD