Intimate partner violence and symptoms of sexually transmitted infections among married Indian women

Amy K. Winter, Princeton University
Rob Stephenson, Emory University

Intimate partner violence (IPV) and its negative health effects on women is an increasingly documented and significant public health topic. Evidence suggests that high levels of IPV exist in India where cultural norms surrounding the value and treatment of women act to increase IPV tolerance. This study examines the association between self-reported IPV and symptoms of sexually transmitted infections (STI) among a sample of 65,610 married Indian women (age 15-49). There is relatively little work that has examined associations between intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual health outcomes for women in low income countries. Data are taken from the 2005-2006 Indian National Family Health Survey-III. Logistic regression models are fitted to two symptoms of STIs (genital sores, and abnormal genital discharge). Key covariates are experiences of three types of violence (verbal, physical, and sexual), and the combined effect of multiple types of violence on STI symptoms. Results indicate that after controlling for other covariates, the experience of verbal, physical, or sexual IPV is independently associated with increased odds of STI symptoms. Additionally, there is a demonstrated association of trend between the number of types of IPV and STI symptoms. The more types of IPV a woman experiences the more likely she is to report genital sores and abnormal genital discharge (test for trend p-values<0.05). Women who reported all three types of IPV are 4.6 () times more likely to report a genital sore and 3.2 () times more likely to report abnormal genital discharge, compared to women with no report of violence. It is important to link IPV and gynecologic health services, especially for women who experience all three types of IPV. Health care providers need be attuned to the possible role of IPV when women present for gynecologic care with STI symptoms.

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Presented in Session 78: Sexually transmitted diseases: risks and stigma