Evidence of increased STI/HIV-related risk behavior among male perpetrators of intimate partner violence in Guatemala: results from a national survey

John Hembling, Katherine Andrinopoulos
AIDS Care 2014, 26 (11): 1411-8
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant public health problem with a demonstrated link to increased sexually transmitted infection (STI)/HIV-related risk and vulnerability. While IPV is an important issue in Central America, the link to STI/HIV risk has not been explored in this region. In this study, the relationship between emotional and physical/sexual IPV and the STI/HIV-related risk behaviors of sex worker patronage and infidelity is assessed among male IPV perpetrators using data from a national survey conducted in 2009 in Guatemala (n = 4773 married/partnered men). Bivariate associations between background characteristics and emotional and physical IPV perpetration were explored. Logistic regression models were run to test associations between IPV for each sexual risk behavior. Perpetration of emotional and physical/sexual IPV was more common among married/partnered men who were older than 24, had more education, lived in urban areas, or were in common law versus married unions. Reports of past-year emotional IPV perpetration increased as wealth quintile increased. After adjusting for demographics and other characteristics, physical/sexual IPV perpetration was associated with past-year infidelity (AOR 1.9, 95% CI: 1.1-3.6). Lifetime emotional IPV (AOR 1.4, 95% CI: 1.1-1.7) and physical/sexual IPV 1.6 (95% CI 1.2-2.0) were positively associated with a history of sex worker patronage. Endorsement of traditional gender role norms showed a marginally positive association with past-year infidelity in the adjusted model (AOR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0-1.8). The study findings from Guatemala reinforce the growing evidence globally that male IPV perpetrators are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, including sex worker patronage and main partner infidelity. The concurrency of violence and increased STI/HIV risk may compound the health risks for female victims of IPV who also face injury and psychological trauma. Integration of prevention and screening of IPV and STI/HIV prevention services should be adopted in Guatemala and other similar contexts.

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