Does domestic violence magnify the spread of HIV?

From The Examiner:

There has been a long time connection between HIV infection and domestic violence. A study featured in the April 2000 edition of The American Journal of Public Health states that 66% of the women that were HIV positive reported a lifetime of domestic abuse. Dr. Tricia Bent-Goodley, Professor & Chair, Community, Administration and Policy Practice Sequence at Howard University School of Social Work, is conducting a study to further investigate the connection.

“The study will focus on testing a culturally specific intervention for African-American women that fosters HIV and domestic violence prevention, and healthy relationship education,” explains Dr. Bent-Goodley. The Women Empowered in Circle study includes 39 African-American female participants over the age of eighteen. In the study, participants are given a pre and post tests and up to seven group sessions.  The study builds on the strength of being an African-American female and focuses on their unique challenges.  The sessions are built on the cultural principles of Ma’at, which is centered around family.   Each participant also completes a survey thirty days after the final group session. “We know that there is a connection between HIV and domestic violence. Domestic violence prohibits a woman’s ability to negotiate safer sex strategies. If she is forced to engage in sexual activity, that also increases her risk and is an indicator of domestic violence” states Dr. Bent-Goodley.  The study, funded by the NY Community Trust, Silberman Faculty Grant Program, will continue through the month of August.

The results will be reviewed and published next year. Dr. Bent-Goodley concludes “HIV is an issue that warrants vast attention in the metropolitan area. We have to find culturally and gender specific solutions that will make sense for our community and that are community based. We hope that Women Empowered in Circle can provide that sort of assistance for community groups to be better positioned to address this issue.”

Get tested. Get care. Get a condom.


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