, Volume 17, Issue 7, pp 2521-2527
Date: 08 May 2013

HIV Testing and Intimate Partner Violence Among Non-Pregnant Women in 15 US States/Territories: Findings from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data

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Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been shown to be associated with higher rates of HIV infection among women, underscoring the importance of encouraging IPV victims to receive HIV testing. However, we do not know how much HIV testing behavior is influenced by IPV victimization. The current study characterized the association between individual types of IPV and HIV testing in a large sample of non-pregnant women in 15 US states/territories. The 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data were analyzed after restricting the sample to non-pregnant women. The dependent variable, whether a woman ever had an HIV test, was examined in relation to individual types of IPV victimization (threatened physical violence; attempted physical violence; completed physical violence; and unwanted sex). Associations between HIV testing and types of IPV were assessed using adjusted risk ratios (aRR) that controlled for demographics and HIV-related risk factors (intravenous drug use, sexually transmitted diseases, exchange sex, unprotected anal sex). Approximately 28.6 % of women reported ever having experienced IPV, and 52.8 % of these women reported being tested for HIV. Among women who had not experienced IPV, 32.9 % reported ever having been tested for HIV. HIV testing was associated with lifetime experience of threatened violence (aRR = 1.43; 95 % CI = 1.24−1.65), attempted violence (aRR = 1.43; 95 % CI = 1.20−1.69), completed physical violence (aRR = 1.30; 95 % CI = 1.13−1.48), and unwanted sex (aRR = 1.66; 95 % CI = 1.48−1.86). Women who experienced each type of IPV were more likely to have been ever tested for HIV compared to women with no IPV history. However, nearly half of those reporting IPV, even though at greater risk for HIV infection, had never been tested. Additional efforts are needed to address barriers to testing in this group.


The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the US Department of Health and Human Services.