Intimate Partner Violence and Its Effects on the Health of African American HIV-Positive Women

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The medical outcomes of women infected with HIV are typically worse than those of HIV-positive men. HIV-positive women report high rates of intimate partner violence, and there is evidence that traumatic events have a negative impact on health status. In addition, African American women make up 1 of the fastest growing groups of HIV-positive individuals. Therefore, this study sought to examine the impact of intimate partner violence on HIV medication adherence, HIV-related physical health outcomes, and health-related quality of life in 40 HIV-positive African American women. The results were that women who had experienced intimate partner violence had worse HIV-related health as indicated by reduced CD4 counts and increased HIV viral load. In addition, posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms were related to both intimate partner violence and health-related quality of life. Lastly, HIV medication adherence mediated the relationships between intimate partner violence and the HIV-related health outcomes. Implications for further work and clinical interventions to address intimate partner violence, medication adherence, and health-related quality of life in this population are discussed.

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