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Understanding the association between intimate partner violence and sexually transmitted infections among women in India: a propensity score matching approach
  1. Mahashweta Chakrabarty1,
  2. Aditya Singh1,2,
  3. Diwakar Mohan3,
  4. Shivani Singh4
  1. 1 Department of Geography, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
  2. 2 Girl Innovation, Research, and Learning (GIRL) Centre, Population Council, New York, New York, USA
  3. 3 Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  4. 4 Independent Researcher, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
  1. Correspondence to Dr Aditya Singh, Department of Geography, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221005, India; adityasingh{at}


Background Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women can significantly impact their overall health. While numerous studies in developing nations highlight the association between IPV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the evidence available within the Indian context remains limited. Therefore, this study aims to fill this knowledge gap by investigating the relationship between exposure to different forms of IPV and the occurrence of STIs, using a quasi-experimental approach.

Methods The study used a sample of 63 851 women aged 15–49 years from the latest National Family Health Survey-5. Propensity score matching (PSM) was employed to assess the ‘treatment effect’ from exposure to IPV (physical, emotional or sexual) in the past 12 months on STIs.

Results About 12.2% of women (95% CI: 11.7% to 12.8%) reported symptoms of STIs at the time of the survey. Approximately 31.9% (95% CI: 31.2% to 32.7%) of women reported experiencing at least one form of IPV—either physical, emotional or sexual IPV. Of all forms of IPV, physical IPV was the most prevalent, reported by 28.6%, followed by emotional IPV (13.2%) and sexual IPV (5.7%). Women who experienced any form of IPV—whether physical, sexual or emotional—reported a higher prevalence of STIs (17.8%) as compared with those who did not experience any IPV (9.5%). The findings from the PSM analysis indicated that among the three forms of IPV, the impact of sexual IPV on STIs was the most pronounced. The average treatment effect on the treated from exposure to sexual IPV on STIs was 0.15 (95% CI 0.13 to 0.17).

Conclusion This study provides evidence of a significant association between IPV and STIs among women in India and underscores the urgent need for intensified efforts and interventions to address both IPV and STIs, to improve the overall health and well-being of women in India.

  • Epidemiology
  • Social Sciences

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. The data can be obtained by registering as a DHS data user and requesting access for legitimate research purposes:

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. The data can be obtained by registering as a DHS data user and requesting access for legitimate research purposes:

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  • Handling editor Nadja A Vielot

  • X @aadiatbhu

  • Contributors MC and AS conceived the study. DM, and SS critically reviewed the study proposal. AS, DM, and SS served as scientific advisors. MC and AS created the STATA codes. MC performed the formal analysis. AS and DM supervised the data analysis. MC wrote the first draft of the manuscript, which was edited by AS, DM, and SS. All authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript and approved the final version. MC is the guarantor for this article.

  • Funding AS acknowledges the support provided by Banaras Hindu University under the Institute of Eminence (IOE) Scheme (grant no. 48726). MC (ref. no: 200510082749) acknowledges the support of Junior Research Fellowship provided by University Grants Commission, India.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.