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HIV risk among low-income women: a case for addressing gender issues in prevention interventions.
Crumble DA; Wagstaff D; Kelly J; Sikkema K; Solomon L; Anderson E;
January 30, 1997
Int Conf AIDS. 1996 Jul 7-12;11(1):177 (abstract no. Mo.D.1714). Unique

Objective: This study identified HIV risk factors related to characteristics of the sexual relationships of low-income urban women and related psychosocial factors. Methods: Anonymous questionnaires were administered to 1268 adult women living in 18 inner-city housing developments in five US cities. Based on their self-reported behavior during the preceding two months, women were assigned to one of four risk categories: women with multiple partners, women with one partner they believed or knew had engaged in risky behavior (i.e., other partners or injected drugs), women with one partner they knew or believed had not engaged in risky behavior, and women who had not had sex. The four groups were compared with respect to the respondents' condom use and related HIV risk factors. Results: Seventy-one percent were African-American, the mean age was 33.8, and on average the women had 3 children. Overall, 59% of the women were sexually active: 14% had multiple sexual partners, 21% had a single risky partner, 38% were mutually exclusive, and 25% were not sexually active. More than half of the women had been involved with their primary partner for one or more years. Twelve percent had been treated for an STD within the past two months. Condom use during the past two months was less frequent among women with one risky partner than among those with multiple partners. In all, only 5% of the women perceived that they were at considerable risk for HIV infection. Conclusion: This study points to the need to consider the extent to which low-income women may be at risk for HIV because of the behavior of a partner with whom they have a long-standing relationship. Prevention programs for these women and their sexual partners need to pay attention to partner issues and focus on partner dynamics and imbalances of power.

*HIV Infections/EPIDEMIOLOGY *Sex Behavior