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“If He’s Abusing You . . . The Baby Is Going To Be Affected”: HIV-Positive Pregnant Women’s Experiences Of Intimate Partner Violence

Adele Marais, Caroline C. Kuo, Robin Julies, Dan J. Stein, John A. Joska, Caron Zlotnick

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Pregnancy represents a time of increased risk for intimate partner violence (IPV), and an HIV diagnosis further increases the vulnerability of this at-risk group. This study explores experiences of recent IPV using qualitative interviews with N = 12 HIV-positive pregnant women recruited from a clinical setting in South Africa, a location with a high global prevalence of IPV and HIV. Partner dynamics around IPV resulted in HIV shame and stigma and adversely affected engagement in HIV care and HIV treatment behaviors. The results highlight the challenges women face in navigating disclosure of both IPV and HIV, accessing necessary support, and engaging in both HIV-related and pregnancy-related care in the context of an abusive relationship.