Abused women more likely to contract HIV – study

2010-06-16 12:46

Women who are in abusive or unequal relationships are at risk of

becoming infected with HIV, the Medical Research Council (MRC) has found.

Professor Rachel Jewkes and a colleague at the MRC studied 1 099

young African women who were HIV negative at the start of the study, and who had

at least one subsequent HIV test over two years of follow-up.

Women were given face-to-face interviews to assess exposure to

violence and gender equality in their relationships.

Women in relationships with low equality at the start of the study

had a much higher incidence of HIV, compared with women with medium or high

relationship power.

Additionally, women who reported more than one episode of abuse at

the start of the study were more likely to acquire HIV than those who

experienced one or no episodes of abuse.

The MRC said: “The researchers calculated that if gender

inequalities were improved so that no women were in relationships with low

power, 13.9% of new HIV infections could be prevented.”

Also, they found 11.9% of new HIV infections could be avoided if

women were not subjected to more than one episode of physical or sexual abuse by

their partner.

They said organisations driving HIV-prevention agendas for women,

particularly UNAIDS and the World Health Organisation, “need to ensure that

policies, programmes and interventions to build gender equity and prevent

partner violence are developed and widely implemented”.

Currently, the focus is on testing, promoting condom use and


They said donors and researchers must invest in efforts and

resources in developing and testing new interventions.

The report was published in the medical journal The Lancet online.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.