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Intimate partner violence and other partner-related factors: correlates of sexually transmissible infections and risky sexual behaviours among young adult African American women

Puja Seth A B D * , Jerris L. Raiford A B , LaShun S. Robinson A , Gina M. Wingood A B and Ralph J. DiClemente A B C

A Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA.

B Emory Center for AIDS Research, Social and Behavioral Sciences Core, 1518 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA.

C Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology, and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine, 2015 Uppergate Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.

D Corresponding author. Email:

Sexual Health 7(1) 25-30
Submitted: 8 October 2008  Accepted: 17 November 2009   Published: 15 February 2010


Background: Intimate partner violence and other partner-related factors have been associated with acquiring sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and engaging in risky sexual behaviour. The present study examined partner-related risk factors for STIs and risky sexual behaviours among an urban sample of African American women. Methods: African American women, between 18 and 29 years (n = 848), participated in the study at baseline. Participants completed a 40-min Audio Computer Assisted Survey Interview assessing sociodemographics, partner-related factors and HIV/STI-associated sexual risk behaviours. Subsequently, participants provided two vaginal swab specimens for STIs. Results: The findings indicated that risky sexual behaviours and STIs were prevalent in this sample: 35.6% reported a risky sexual partner, 65.4% reported inconsistent condom use and 17% tested positive for a laboratory-confirmed STI. Women reporting a history of intimate partner violence were more likely to report risky sexual partners (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 2.00; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.5–2.8), inconsistent condom use (AOR = 1.60; 95% CI = 1.1–2.3) and test positive for an STI (AOR = 1.46; 95% CI = 0.99–2.1). Women reporting high partner-related barriers to condom use were more likely to report risky sexual partners (AOR = 1.69; 95% CI = 1.2–2.3), inconsistent condom use (AOR = 2.13; 95% CI = 1.5–3.0) and test positive for an STI (AOR = 1.98; 95% CI = 1.3–3.0). Finally, women with older partners were more likely to report risky sexual partners (AOR = 1.53; 95% CI = 1.1–2.1) and test positive for an STI (AOR = 1.46; 95% CI = 1.0–2.2). Conclusions: This study examines partner-related risk factors for STIs and risky sexual behaviours among African American women. These findings underscore the need for combined intimate partner violence and HIV/STI prevention programs for this disproportionately affected high-risk group.

Additional keywords: intimate partner violence, sex, sexually transmissible infections.


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