To examine the impact of previous interpersonal violence (IPersV) experiences on long-term healthcare engagement and health outcomes in a large Canadian HIV-cohort.
People living with HIV (PLHIV) were screened for IPersV, and their healthcare outcomes over the nine subsequent years were analyzed.
A total of 1064 PLHIV were screened for past and present IPersV experiences through semistructured interviews. Follow-up included core treatment engagement (e.g. clinic visits) and health-status variables (HIV viral load, CD4+ T-cell count, mortality, comorbidities), analyzed descriptively and with longitudinal Cox regressions.
At intake, 385 (36%) PLHIV reported past or present IPersV including childhood (n = 224, 21%) or adulthood experiences (n = 161, 15%) and were offered conventional social work support. Over 9 years, individuals with any IPersV experiences were 36% more likely to discontinue care, 81% more likely to experience viremia, 47% more likely to experience a drop in CD4+ cell counts below 200/μl, and 65% more likely to die compared with patients not reporting IPersV (P < 0.05). Outcomes were similar when adjusted for sociodemographic factors. Childhood IPersV in particular was linked to several of the outcomes, with higher rates of discontinuation of care, viremia, and mortality related to mental health/addiction or HIV-related complications.
IPersV is associated with an increased risk over time of healthcare discontinuation, poorer long-term HIV-related health outcomes, and increased mortality, especially for patients victimized in childhood. Apart from targeted IPersV screening to initiate conventional supports (e.g. through social work), increased efforts to engage vulnerable populations in their long-term care seems warranted.