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Sexual Relationship Power and Malnutrition Among HIV-Positive Women in Rural Uganda

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Abstract

Inequality within partner relationships is associated with HIV acquisition and gender violence, but little is known about more pervasive effects on women’s health. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of associations between sexual relationship power and nutritional status among women in Uganda. Participants completed questionnaires and anthropometric measurements. We assessed sexual relationship power using the Sexual Relationship Power Scale (SRPS). We performed logistic regression to test for associations between sexual relationship power and poor nutritional status including body mass index, body fat percentage, and mid-upper arm circumference. Women with higher sexual relationship power scores had decreased odds of low body mass index (OR 0.29, p = 0.01), low body fat percentage (OR 0.54, p = 0.04), and low mid-upper arm circumference (OR 0.22, p = 0.01). These relationships persisted in multivariable models adjusted for potential confounders. Targeted interventions to improve intimate partner relationship equality should be explored to improve health status among women living with HIV in rural Africa.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the UARTO participants who made this study possible; Annet Kembabazi and Annet Kawuma for providing study coordination and support; Doreen Akello, Marcy Mutumba, Christine Ngabirano, Ruth Ssentongo, and Florence Turyashemererwa for research assistance; Dr. Jude Senkugu, Dr. Conrad Muzoora and Dr. Elias Kumbakumba for invaluable advice and oversight of study design and implementation. While these individuals are acknowledged for their assistance, no endorsement of manuscript contents or conclusions should be inferred. Sources of Support: The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (R01 MH054907, K23 MH079713-03S1, K24 MH087227, and P30 AI027793), the Meyer Family Foundation, and the Mark and Lisa Schwartz Family Foundation. Dr. Weiser received additional support from the Burke Family Foundation. Dr. Tsai received salary support from the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars.

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Correspondence to Mark J. Siedner.

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Siedner, M.J., Tsai, A.C., Dworkin, S. et al. Sexual Relationship Power and Malnutrition Among HIV-Positive Women in Rural Uganda. AIDS Behav 16, 1542–1548 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-012-0162-9

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