Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Intimate Partner Violence among New HIV Positive Mothers in South Africa

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Intimate Partner Violence among New HIV Positive Mothers in South Africa

Article excerpt

There is a lack of data on intimate partner violence in new HIV positive mothers. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of intimate partner violence and associated factors in postnatal HIV-positive women in primary care facilities in South Africa. A cross-sectional study was carried out on 607 HIV-positive postnatal women in 48 primaiy health care clinics and community health centres in Nkangala District. Postnatal women were recruited by systematic sampling (every consecutive patient over a period of 2 months) and responded to a questionnaire. Overall, 12.9% of women reported to having ever experienced physical partner violence and 11.9% emotional partner violence in the past 12 months. In bivariate logistic regression, having been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (other than HIV) in the past 12 months and having had two or more sexual partners in the past 12 months was associated with physical partner violence. Moreover, having a younger infant, unplanned previous pregnancy, and not having been attended to by a traditional birth attended during antenatal care with previous pregnancy and not having attended a support group were associated with emotional partner abuse in the 12 months.The study findings suggest that routine screening for intimate partner violence by maternity services should be encouraged.

Key words: Intimate partner violence, HIV positive new mothers, risk factors, primaiy care facilities, South Africa

Most studies on intimate partner violence focused on the period before and during pregnancy and little is known about the postpartum period (Martin, Mackie, Kupper, Buescher, & Moracco, 2001; Saito, Creedy, Cooke, & Chaboyer, 2012). Yet, during postpartum new mothers have to cope with a number of additional demands such as a change to parenthood and infant care which can lead to increased risk of intimate partner violence during the postpartum period (Nomaguchi & Milkie, 2003; Saito et al, 2012). A few studies found considerable rates of intimate partner violence in new mothers, 23% reported threats, physical or sexual abuse (Hedin, 2000), 25% moderate to severe violence (Gielen, O'campo, Faden, Kass & Xue, 1994), 25% psychological violence and 9.5% threats and physical violence (Saito et al, 2012), 4.9% violence after delivery (Koenig, Whitaker, Royce, Wilson, Ethier, & Fernandez, 2006), 8.3% domestic abuse (emotional, sexual, or physical (Guo, Wu, Qu, & Yan, 2004). Intimate partner violence has been reported to be much higher among HIV-positive women than among HIV-negative women (Maman et al, 2002).

Factors associated with intimate partner violence in new mothers have been identified as older age (Hedin, 2000), being married (Hedin, 2000), lower education (Guo et al, 2004), lower socioeconomic status (Koenig et al, 2006), lack of social support (Gielen et al, 1994), lower well-being (Saito et al, 2012), poorer mental health (Saito et al, 2012), perceived stress and partner alcohol misuse (Hellmuth, Görden, Stuart, & Moore, 2013).The present study aimed to determine the prevalence of intimate partner violence and associated factors in postnatal HIV-positive women in primaiy care facilities in Nkangala district, Mpumalanga, South Africa.

Method

Sample and procedure

The sample included 607 postnatal HIV-positive women with an infant aged 1-10 weeks (30.8%), 11 weeks - 6 months (36.7%) or 7-12 months (32.5%). Almost all (98%) were from a black African population group, mainly Zulu, Swati and Tswana. The inclusion criteria for the postnatal study were that the participant attended the clinic, was HIV positive, was 18 years of age and older, and had an infant less than 12 months old. Postnatal women were recruited by systematic sampling (every consecutive patient over a period of 2 months) from 48 primaiy care clinics and community health centres (of in total 74 clinics, systematically selected)in all 6 subdistricts of Nkangala district in Mpumalanga province. …

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