Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is common among young adult relationships, and is associated with significant morbidity, including sexually transmitted infections (STI). This study measured the association between IPV victimization and perpetration and prevalent STIs and STI-risk behaviors among a sample of young women.
Methods: This analysis uses wave 3 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and was restricted to the 3548 women who reported on a sexual relationship that occurred in the previous 3 months and agreed to STI testing. A multivariate random effects model was used to determine associations between STI and STI-risk behaviors and IPV.
Results: The IPV prevalence over the past year was 32%—3% victim-only, 12% perpetrator-only, and 17% reciprocal. The STI prevalence was 7.1%. Overall, 17% of participants reported partner concurrency and 32% reported condom use at last vaginal intercourse. In multivariate analysis, victim-only and reciprocal IPV were associated with not reporting condom use at last vaginal intercourse. Perpetrator-only, victim-only, and reciprocal IPV were associated with partner concurrency. Victim-only IPV was associated with a higher likelihood of having a prevalent STI (odds ratio: 2.1; 95% confidence interval: 1.0–4.2).
Conclusions: This analysis adds to the growing body of literature that suggests that female IPV victims have a higher STI prevalence, as well as a higher prevalence of STI-risk behaviors, compared with women in nonviolent relationships. Women in violent relationships should be considered for STI screening in clinics, and IPV issues should be addressed in STI prevention messages, given its impact on risk for STI acquisition.