The association between violence against women and risk for HIV infection has been the focus of a growing number of studies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [PDF, 2.15MB], findings from these studies indicate that women who report a history of intimate partner violence (IPV) are also more likely to report factors known to increase the risk for HIV, including injection drug use, having a sexually transmitted infection, and exchanging money or drugs for sex.
Research findings also indicate that women who are living with HIV in the United States are significantly more likely to experience violence at the hands of their intimate partners than women in general. Overall, 25 percent of women report experiencing severe IPV (e.g., beating, burning, strangling), but 55 percent of women living with HIV report this level of abuse. ,
To address this critical issue, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Office on Women’s Health (OWH) has awarded more than $3 million to community-level programs in Texas, Kentucky, and Louisiana through the Preventing HIV Infection in Women through Expanded Intimate Partner Violence Prevention, Screening, and Response Services initiative to reduce the negative health impacts of IPV and HIV.
Dorothy Fink, M.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health and OWH Director said, “We are working to break this link between IPV and HIV by protecting women through violence-prevention efforts and providing services in communities where women are most at risk.”
“HHS is proud to support these grants to bring us closer to integrating violence prevention and HIV prevention into health services,” said Tammy Beckham, DVM, PhD, Director of the HHS Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy. “That integration means we can offer women at risk for IPV both the medical care they need to prevent or treat HIV effectively and the social services that can help them avoid or end cycles of violence and abuse.”
The four organizations receiving OWH funding are each located in one of the prioritized jurisdictions [PDF, 76KB] of the Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE) initiative, a plan to end the HIV epidemic in America by reducing new infections by 75 percent in five years and by 90 percent in 10 years. The organizations are:
- University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
- University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX
- The Center for Women and Families, Inc., Louisville, KY
- Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies, New Orleans, LA