Background/Objectives Adolescent and young adult women are at high risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)/HIV and intimate partner violence (IPV). We evaluate the prevalence of IPV in the past 3 months and its associations with STI/HIV risk, STI and related care-seeking over the same time period.
Methods Female family planning clinic patients ages 16–29 years (n=3504) participated in a cross-sectional survey in 2011–2012 as a baseline assessment for an intervention study. We examined associations of recent IPV with sexual and drug-related STI/HIV risk behaviour, self-reported STI and STI-related clinical care seeking via logistic regression.
Results Recent physical or sexual IPV (prevalence 11%) was associated with recent sexual and drug-related STI/HIV risk, specifically unprotected vaginal sex (adjusted OR (AOR) 1.93, 95% CI 1.52 to 2.44), unprotected anal sex (AOR 2.22, 95% CI 1.51 to 3.27) and injection drug use, their own (AOR 3.39, 95% CI 1.47 to 7.79) and their partner's (AOR 3.85, 1.91 to 7.75). IPV was also linked with coercive sexual risk: involuntary condom non-use (AOR 1.87 to 95% CI 1.51 to 2.33), and fears of requesting condoms (AOR 4.15, 95% CI 2.73 to 6.30) and refusing sex (AOR 11.84, 95% CI 7.59 to 18.45). STI-related care-seeking was also more common among those abused (AOR 2.49, 95% CI 1.87 to 3.31).
Conclusions Recent IPV is concurrent with sexual and drug-related STI/HIV risk, including coercive sexual risk, thus compromising women's agency in STI/HIV risk reduction. Clinical risk assessments should broaden to include unprotected heterosexual anal sex, coercive sexual risk and IPV, and should promote safety and harm reduction.
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