Intimate partner abuse and HIV risk are emerging as intersecting problems that threaten the welfare of inner-city African American and Latino communities. Emergency departments (EDs) provide medical care to a disproportionate number of abused women and women infected with HIV and other STDs. Partner abuse has been implicated as a risk factor for having unprotected sex and contracting STDs. Some evidence, however, suggests that disclosure of STD or HIV status by either partner may precipitate partner violence. Similarly, other studies have found significant associations between having sex with a risky partner (e.g. HIV-infected or injecting drug user) and partner violence. To date, research on the bi-directional relationships between partner violence and HIV-risk behaviors remains limited because of small sample sizes, cross-sectional designs, and failure to control for confounding variables. The proposed study will explore the relationship dynamics and sequences of events that culminate in the co-occurrence of partner violence and sexual and drug-related HIV risk behaviors among women visiting an ED. Qualitative methods will be used. Secondly, it will examine longitudinally the prevalence and incidence of partner violence. Thirdly, it will elucidate the temporal relationships between intimate partner violence and HIV risk among women in the ED. In the first year, 48 women attending an ED who have recently experienced partner abuse will participate in focus groups. An additional 35 abused women will participate in in-depth narrative interviews. For the longitudinal study, 450 women will be assessed at baseline and at six and twelve months. Participants will be recruited from St. Barnabas Hospital Emergency Department. In the final year the research team will conduct two focus groups with 16 participants to elicit their interpretation of study findings. This study will be organized by investigators from the Social Intervention Group (SIG) at the Columbia University School of Social Work and St. Barnabas Hospital. Findings from the proposed study will increase understanding of the relationship between partner violence and HIV risk behavior and may inform assessment, referral, and treatment protocols used by ED staff to meet the diverse needs of women who are at risk of partner abuse and HIV.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-AARR-7 (01))
Program Officer
Stoff, David M
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
Other Health Professions
Schools of Social Work
New York
United States
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Sormanti, M; Pereira, L; El-Bassel, N et al. (2001) The role of community consultants in designing an HIV prevention intervention. AIDS Educ Prev 13:311-28