China: Intimate partner violence a major contributor to HIV epidemic

HIV prevention programmes targeted at men who have sex with men (MSM) should include intimate partner violence (IPV) screening and interventions, research published in Nature Scientific Reportsshows. Investigators from China found that recent experience of IPV was associated with a fourfold increase in the risk of infection with HIV. Moreover, experiencing IPV was a more important risk factor for infection with HIV than several other factors traditionally associated with high HIV risk, with 38% of the risk attributed to IPV.

“Our results suggest that being a victim of IPV was an independent determinant of HIV seroconversion among MSM in China,” comment the investigators. “If we want to control the spread of the HIV epidemic among MSM by adopting a comprehensive intervention strategy, this intervention must address IPV factors in male-to-male relationships.”

The HIV epidemic among MSM in China is expanding rapidly. The proportion of new HIV diagnoses in the country attributed to sex between men more than doubled between 2006 and 2017, from 12% to 26%.

IPV is highly prevalent in many communities and has been associated with increased HIV risk. However, virtually nothing is known about the prevalence of IPV among MSM and its relationship with the HIV epidemic.

Investigators, therefore, designed a prospective study involving 476 HIV-negative MSM in Shenyang, China who were followed for 12 months. Their aims were to establish the prevalence of IPV, the association between IPV and recent infection and the proportion of HIV infection risk (population attributable fraction – PAF) attributable to IPV. Read more via AIDSmap