The researchers investigated experiences of sexual violence among women in HIV discordant unions, relationships in which one partner is HIV-infected and the other is not, attending HIV post-test club services in Uganda. Advertisement
The qualitative critical incident technique was used to interview a volunteer sample of 26 women from three AIDS Information Centers who reported, in a larger epidemiological study, having experienced sexual violence. TEXTPACK, a software application for computer-assisted content analysis, was used to analyze the data collected. Incidents of sexual violence narrated by the women included the use of physical force and verbal threats.
Analysis of the data identified four themes that characterized the women's experience of sexual violence: knowledge of HIV test results; prevalence of sexual violence; vulnerability; and proprietary views and reactions to sexual violence. Their male partners' alcohol abuse was a key factor in the women's experience of sexual violence.
The women's "experiences evoked different reactions and feelings, including concern over the need to have children, fear of infection, desire to separate from their spouses/partners, helplessness, anger, and suicidal tendencies," the authors concluded. "HIV counseling and testing centers should be supported with the capacity to address issues related to sexual violence for couples who are HIV discordant."
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