Sexual Relationship Power Equity Is Associated With Consistent Condom Use and Fewer Experiences of Recent Violence Among Women Living With HIV in Canada Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Sexual 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. METHODS: Baseline 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)]. RESULTS: Overall, 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). DISCUSSION: Prioritizing relationship equity and support for WLWH is critical for addressing violence and promoting positive health outcomes.


  • Closson, Kalysha
  • Lee, Melanie
  • Gibbs, Andrew
  • Nicholson, Valerie
  • Gormley, Rebecca
  • Parry, Rebeccah
  • Ding, Erin
  • Li, Jenny
  • Carter, Allison
  • Pick, Neora
  • Loutfy, Mona
  • de Pokomandy, Alexandra
  • Greene, Saara
  • Logie, Carmen H
  • Kaida, Angela

publication date

  • August 15, 2022