Violence among women with or at risk for HIV infection

David Vlahov, Dina Wientge, Jan Moore, Colin Flynn, Paula Schuman, Ellie Schoenbaum, Sally Zierler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


To estimate the prevalence and to identify correlates of physical and sexual assaults or abuse among women with or at risk for HIV infection, a cross-sectional survey was conducted within a longitudinal cohort study. A total of 765 HIV-seropositive and 367 HIV-seronegative women with a history of injection drug use (51%) or high-risk sex (49%) completed the interview. Both physical abuse and sexual abuse as a child were common for both HIV- seropositive (41.3%, 41.0%) and uninfected women (43.3%, 45.8%), respectively. Both physical abuse and sexual abuse as adults were even more common in both HIV-seropositive (66.4%, 45.7%), respectively. In the 6 months prior to interview, the most important predictors for being the victim of violence was age <30 years old, use of marijuana, having multiple sex partners, and not having a steady sex partner. However, even after accounting for these other factors, HIV-infected women with low CD4 cell counts (<350/μl) were less likely than the other women to experience recent violence. While the lower ate of recent violence among those with low CD4 cell count probably represents effects of HIV-related disability, women at high risk for HIV remain at high risk for violence. Both HIV prevention and treatment services need to recognize the background level of violence and incorporate appropriate counseling services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998


  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Rape
  • Substance abuse
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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