Sexual Relationship Power Equity Is Associated With Consistent Condom Use and Fewer Experiences of Recent Violence Among Women Living With HIV in Canada
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BackgroundSexual relationship power (SRP) inequities, including having a controlling partner, have not been widely examined among women living with HIV (WLWH). We measured the prevalence and key outcomes of relationship control among WLWH in Canada.
MethodsBaseline data from WLWH (≥16 years), reporting consensual sex in the last month enrolled in a Canadian community-collaborative cohort study in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, included the relationship control SRP subscale by Pulerwitz (2000). Scale scores were dichotomized into medium/low (score = 1-2.82) vs. high relationship control (score = 2.82-4), and high scores indicate greater SRP equity. Cronbach's alpha assessed scale reliability. Bivariate analyses compared women with high vs. medium/low relationship control. Crude and adjusted multinomial regression examined associations between relationship control and condom use [consistent (ref), inconsistent, or never]; any sexual, physical, and/or emotional violence; and physical and/or sexual violence [never (ref), recent (≤3 months ago), and previous (>3 months ago)].
ResultsOverall, 473 sexually active WLWH (33% of cohort), median age = 39 (IQR = 33-46) years, 81% on antiretroviral therapy, and 78% with viral loads <50 copies/mL were included. The subscale demonstrated good reliability (Cronbach's alpha = 0.92). WLWH with high relationship control (80%) were more likely ( P < 0.05) to be in a relationship, have no children, have greater resilience, and report less sociostructural inequities. In adjusted models, high relationship control was associated with lower odds of inconsistent vs. consistent condom use [adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 0.39 (95% confidence interval: 0.18 to 0.85)], any recent violence [aOR: 0.14 (0.04-0.47)] as well as recent physical and/or sexual [aOR : 0.05 (0.02-0.17)] but not previous violence (vs. never).
DiscussionPrioritizing relationship equity and support for WLWH is critical for addressing violence and promoting positive health outcomes.
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