A high proportion of HIV positive women report domestic violence than HIV negative women, says a latest study by the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune. Conducted in a tertiary care hospital in Pune on a randomly selected sample of 150 married women, of which 75 each were HIV positive and negative, the study showed that overall, 33.3 percent of HIV positive married women reported acts of domestic violence inflicted upon them.
Of these, physical violence was reported by 29.3 percent women, emotional violence by 14.7 percent and sexual violence by 5.3 percent victims. In contrast, 56 percent of the total HIV positive married women reported domestic violence. Of these, 46.7 percent women experienced physical violence, emotional abuse 33.3 percent and sexual abuse by 24 percent. The study titled ‘Measuring domestic violence in HIV positive women’ has been published in the Medical Journal of Armed Forces of India (MJAFI). The study has been authored by Seema Patrikar, lecturer (Statistics and Demography), Department of Community Medicine, AFMC Pune; Brig A.K. Verma, Commandant, Military Hospital, Dehradun, Uttarakhand; Lt Col V.K. Bhatti, Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, AFMC, Pune and Lt S. Shatabdi, Medical Officer, Base Hospital, Delhi Cantonment.
“Violence and the fear of violence are emerging as important risk factors contributing to the vulnerability of HIV infection for women,” the study said. HIV positive status, rural residence, number of children, and alcohol consumption by husbands were significant factors putting women at higher risk of domestic violence. ”Physicians should ask their patients routinely about domestic violence and when domestic violence is present, should offer emotional and psychological care,” the study suggested.