We longitudinally examined the effect of intimate partner violence (IPV) on condom and diaphragm nonadherence among women in the Methods for Improving Reproductive Health in Africa study, a phase III HIV prevention trial in southern Africa.
Recent IPV (fear of violence, emotional abuse, physical violence, or forced sex, in past 3 months), condom nonadherence, and diaphragm nonadherence were assessed at baseline, 12 month, and exit visits (up to 24 months). The association between IPV and (1) condom nonadherence or (2) diaphragm nonadherence across visits was modeled using Generalized Estimating Equations adjusting for potential confounders.
Of 4505 participants, 55% reported recent IPV during their trial participation. Women reported fearing violence (41%), emotional abuse (38%), being physically assaulted (16%), and forced sex (15%) by their regular male partner. IPV was associated with condom nonadherence in both study arms [adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 1.41, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.24 to 1.61 (control arm) and AOR: 1.47, 95% CI: 1.28 to 1.69, (intervention arm)] and with diaphragm nonadherence (AOR 1.24, 95% CI: 1.06 to 1.45) adjusting for age, study sites, number of sex partners, and knowledge of male partner infidelity. Modeling effects of each form of IPV separately on nonadherence outcomes yielded similar results.
Prevalence of recent IPV was high and associated with condom and diaphragm nonadherence during the trial. Counseling in prevention trials should proactively address IPV, for its own sake, and in product and risk-reduction counseling. Strategies to encourage men's positive involvement in product use and prevent IPV perpetration should be considered.