People Who Suffered Violence are More Likely to Quit HIV Treatment
A Canadian research team found that people living with HIV who have a history of violence, whether by their partners, their families, or their friends, particularly during childhood, are more likely to abandon their care and develop AIDS.
Previous studies had already shown that people who admitted to having been raped were more vulnerable to acquiring HIV, more likely to engage in unprotected sex and to postpone HIV detection. Similarly, those who experienced violence in childhood were more likely to have excessive consumption of alcohol and other drugs, to have suicidal thoughts or attempts, and to have a worse socioeconomic situation in their adulthood.
According to the study, carried out by the University of Alberta and taken up by the specialized portal Aidsmap.com, most of the previous research that addressed violence and HIV did not follow the participants over time.
On this occasion, the researchers followed a nine-year follow-up, which is relevant since HIV is a health condition that must be treated throughout life, and for the authors, it was important to identify how past experiences influence current health outcomes.
The study included 1,064 men and women with HIV from the Southern Alberta HIV Clinic. Among the results, he highlighted that women reported having experienced more violence than men (46% vs. 33%), in addition, those people with a lower level of education were more likely to have experienced violence, either in childhood or adulthood.
Regarding HIV infection, measurements at the beginning of the study showed that high viral load (500 copies / mL or more) was more common in people who experienced violence in childhood than those who did not experience it (28% vs. 18%).
During the nine years of follow-up, people who were raped in childhood were more likely to drop out of care (40%) than those who were raped in adulthood (26%) or who had not experienced violence (27%). They also had a higher death rate (16%) compared to those who suffered violence in adulthood or never suffered it (around 8%).
The results indicate that people with a history of violence had a 34% higher risk of dropping out of medical care, a 57% higher risk of having a detectable viral load, and a 42% higher risk of having a low defense cell count (CD4). It should be noted that these poor results occurred even though all persons who reported violence were offered mental health services.