Intimate Partner Violence Towards HIV-Positive Women in the UK

May/June 2012

Although previous studies outside of the UK have reported higher levels of intimate partner violence (IPV) towards HIV positive women there is a lack of UK based data on this subject. A joint study between Homerton University Hospital and City University, London presented findings of above average IPV rates at an inner city, outpatient HIV clinic.

Results from the cross-sectional study were presented by Rageshri Dhairyawan, in an oral presentation.1 Data was collected using a standardised questionnaire, evaluated using the HARK tool which asks whether the respondent has been humiliated, afraid, raped or kicked/hit by a partner.2

Of 314 women invited to participate, 198 consented and 191 women answered questions on IPV. Median age was 38 years (range 21-71 years); 70% were African, 20% black UK, 6% white and 4% other. Logistic regression models were fitted to estimate adjusted odds ratios (AOR).

Over half of the women (52%, 99/191) reported lifetime experience of IPV, 14% (27/191) within the last year and 14% during pregnancy. Women reporting HPV within the last year included: humiliation (12%), being afraid (9%), rape (3%) and hit/kicked (4%).

There were statistically significant associations between lifetime experience of IPV and self-reported mental health problems (AOR 3.44; 95% CI 1.24, 9.57) and black ethnicity not born in Africa (AOR 4.63 compared to being born in Africa, 95%CI 1.06, 20.11). Older age was associated with a reduced risk (AOR 0.92 per year increase; 95% CI 0.86, 0.97). Importantly, IPV was not found to be associated with socioeconomic or immigration status, educational background or substance misuse (all p >0.1).

In questions following the presentation it was asked whether a comparative study had been conducted in the local HIV negative population. This had not been done as a part of this study but rates of IPV in the study population were described as being higher than the local prevalence in women in primary care.

The study highlighted a need for greater awareness of IPV experienced by HIV positive women in the UK, and screening was recommended in women attending HIV clinics.


  1. Dhairyawan R et al. Intimate partner violence in women living with HIV attending an inner city clinic in the UK. 18th BHIVA Conference, 18-20 April 2012. Oral abstract O5.
  2. Sohal et al. 2007.

This article was provided by HIV i-Base. It is a part of the publication HIV Treatment Bulletin. Visit HIV i-Base's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
See Also
What Did You Expect While You Were Expecting?
HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Women

No comments have been made.

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our content and advertising policies.