, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 142-152

Spousal Intimate Partner Violence is Associated with HIV and Other STIs Among Married Rwandan Women

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HIV is a health problem in Rwanda, where the adult HIV prevalence is 3.1% (WHO 2008 in Online database of HIV/AIDS epidemiological data, found at: http://www.who.int/globalatlas); the majority of those infected are women (UNAIDS 2008 in http://data.unaids.org/pub/Report/2008/rwanda_2008_country_progress_report_en.pdf). Prior studies indicate that intimate partner violence is frequently associated with increased HIV risk in women, often because men who abuse their wives also exhibit riskier sexual behaviors (Silverman et al. in JAMA 300:703–710 2008. Population—based data from the 2005 Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey indicate that women with few, if any, other sexual risk factors who have experienced sexual, physical, or emotional abuse within their marriages are 1.61–3.46 times as likely to test positive for HIV, and 2.14–4.11 times more likely to report another STI. These findings confirm prior clinical studies that indicate that intimate partner violence is a correlate of HIV/STIs in Rwanda. Further research is needed to determine whether Rwandan men that abuse their wives have higher baseline rates of HIV/STI infection.