Low income Chilean women confronting HIV/AIDS and domestic violence
Issues: Individual and sociocultural factors have a significant influence on the increasing HIV infection rate among low-income Chilean women. The rate of HIV/AIDS infection is increasing more rapidly among women than among men in Chile probably due to the influence of sociocultural factors such as domestic violence (DV). Historically there has been a high incidence of DV in Chile and as a result many Chilean women do not consider DV as unusual. Ninety percent (90%) of low income Chilean women experience some type of domestic violence and 60% experience sexual aggression.
Description: This study examined the associations that low income Chilean women make between DV and the acquisition of HIV/AIDS. Twenty (20) low-income Chilean women who leave in La Pintana a low-income neighborhood in the capital city of Santiago participated in an in-depth interview. A content analysis of the interviews was performed using the verbatim transcriptions of the 20 interviews.
Lessons learned: Half of the interviewees (10 women) associated DV with the possibility of getting infected with HIV/AIDS. They argued that: (1) if women do not agree to have sex with their partners, men will look for sex outside of marriage and this can put women at risk to acquire HIV infection; and (2) if women are beaten up by their husbands, they are most likely to seek love and affection outside the marriage, putting themselves at risk to acquire HIV.
Recommendations: The women interviewed associate DV with the possibility of acquiring HIV/AIDS. Future HIV/AIDS prevention programs must be developed considering domestic violence as an important program component. HIV/AIDS prevention programs that increase self-esteem and self-confidence of women will realize the empowerment required to overcome DV and reduce the risk for HIV/AIDS.
The XV International AIDS Conference
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Low income Chilean women confronting HIV/AIDS and domestic violence.
The XV International AIDS Conference: