Abuse in the Close Relationships of People with HIV

Published in: AIDS and Behavior, v. 8, no. 4, Dec. 2004, p. 441-451

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2004

by Frank H. Galvan, Rebecca L. Collins, David E. Kanouse, M. Audrey Burnam, Susan M. Paddock, Robin L. Beckman, Steve R. Mitchell

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The authors estimated the proportion of adults receiving HIV care who are involved in abusive close relationships and identified factors associated with abuse perpetration and victimization. A nationally representative sample of 1,421 persons in care for HIV included 51% who reported having a close relationship (a spouse or a primary relationship partner) during a 6-month period. Of those in a close relationship, 26.8%reported the presence of abuse. Forty-eight percent of all abuse was mutual, and abuse perpetration and victimization occurred equally often. Age, substance abuse, and psychiatric disorder, as well as characteristics of relationships (e.g., both partners seropositive) predicted perpetration and/or victimization. After adjusting for these factors, females were not found to differ from gay men in their likelihood of being perpetrators of abuse or victims. However, African Americans were more likely than Whites to be involved in an abusive relationship. Interventions for people with HIV must address the presence of abuse in close relationships, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, but may benefit from targeting people of color.

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