, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 207-214

Relationship Violence and Women's Reactions to Male- and Female-Controlled HIV Prevention Methods

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This study examined the association of relationship violence and preference for three HIV prevention methods among 104 African American and Hispanic women who were at some risk for heterosexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Women completed a brief questionnaire on sexual behaviors and history of relationship violence. All women then watched a video describing three HIV/STD prevention methods (male condoms, female condoms, and vaginal spermicide) that included a discussion of method effectiveness, how to use each method, and their benefits and limitations. Participants then completed a questionnaire assessing their reactions to each of the three HIV prevention methods discussed in the video. Women in violent relationships indicated less likelihood of using male condoms and greater likelihood of using female-controlled methods, particularly vaginal spermicide, than women in nonviolent relationships. In addition, a higher percentage of women in violent compared to nonviolent relationships expected their partners to prefer the vaginal spermicide and a lower percentage expected partners to prefer male condoms. These data suggest that the current focus on finding alternative HIV prevention methods for women in violent relationships is warranted and that a vaginal microbicidal product may be the preferred alternative for this group of women and their male partners.