Violence and HIV sexual risk behaviors among female sex partners of male drug users

Haiou He, H. Virginia McCoy, Sally J. Stevens, Michael J. Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Violence and HIV are emerging as interconnected public health hazards among drug users and their families. The purposes of this study are to (1) determine the prevalence of sexual and physical abuse of non-drug-using female sex partners of male drug users, and (2) ascertain the association between such violence and HIV-related risk behaviors. Methods. From 11/93 to 11/95, 208 female sex partners of injection drug or crack users in Collier County, FL, Tucson, AZ, and Portland, OR, were interviewed as part of a NIDA-funded HIV risk reduction project. Their mean age was 30 years (range 18-54); 21% were White, 6% African American, 7% Native American, and 63% Hispanic. Results: Of the 208 women, 28% reported being sexually molested and 20% raped before age 13; 41% reported being raped at least once in their lifetime. Forty-two percent of the women were physically assaulted by their sex partners; 36% had been threatened with assault by their sex partners. Those who were raped or threatened with assault were more likely to have multiple sex partners and engage in unprotected anal sex; there was a trend for women who had been physically assaulted to be more likely to engage in unprotected anal sex. Discussion: Rape, assault and the threat of assault are commonplace in the histories of female sex partners of male drug users. Experiences of violence and threats of violence are associated with heightened risk for the sexual transmission of HIV. Providers of HIV prevention need to understand the sequelae of violence, and design interventions which empower women to protect themselves from sexual transmission of HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-175
Number of pages15
JournalWomen and Health
Volume27
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 18 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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