Journal Article

Addressing intimate partner violence and power in intimate relationships in HIV testing services in Nairobi, Kenya

Intimate partner violence (IPV) undermines women’s uptake of HIV services and violates their human rights. In a two-arm randomized controlled trial we evaluated a short intervention that went a step beyond IPV screening to discuss violence and power with women receiving HIV testing services during antenatal care (ANC). The intervention included training and support for HIV counselors, a take-home card for clients, and an on-site IPV counselor. One third (35%) of women (N = 688) reported experiencing IPV in the past year; 6% were living with HIV. Among women experiencing IPV, program participants were more likely to disclose violence to their counselor than women receiving standard care (32% vs. 7%, p < 0.001). At second ANC visit, intervention group women were significantly more likely to report that talking with their counselor made a positive difference (aOR 2.9; 95% CI 1.8, 4.4; p < 0.001) and felt more confident in how they deserved to be treated (aOR 2.7; 95% CI 1.7, 4.4; p < 0.001). Exploratory analyses of intent to use ARVs to prevent mother-to-child transmission and actions to address violence were also encouraging.