New Studies Link the Mental Health Effects of Trauma with Poorer HIV Treatment Access and Outcomes for Women
Women who are HIV-positive and who have experienced recent abuse are over four times more likely to have their drug treatments fail, according to recent studies based on meta-analyses of clinical data and published in the journal AIDS and Behavior.
The studies suggest that several factors may impact a woman’s treatment access and outcomes, including direct interference by an abuser as well as obstacles that may exist if a woman is experiencing the mental health effects of trauma, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
According to the lead author of these studies, Edward Machtinger, the results indicate a need for a trauma-informed approach to HIV/AIDS treatment:
“‘We have to learn to ask about trauma and to develop creative approaches to trauma-prevention and trauma-recovery,’ Machtinger said. ‘This is actually an amazing opportunity to have a significant impact on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, especially among minority women.’” (Bardi 2012)
The study also found that women who are HIV-positive and who have experienced recent abuse are more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behavior, potentially contributing to the spread of infection.
Allday, E. (2012, March 23). Studies see link between HIV and abuse among women. San Francisco Chronicle, p. 1A. Web site: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/22/BAF51NOBEG.DTL.
Bardi, J. (2012, March 23). Trauma drives HIV epidemic in women: high rate of trauma among American women with HIV/AIDS and its public health consequences revealed in two UCSF studies. UCSF News Center. Web site: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/22/BAF51NOBEG.DTL.
Links to the studies:
Psychological Trauma and PTSD in HIV-Positive Women: A Meta-Analysis:
Recent Trauma is Associated with Antiretroviral Failure and HIV Transmission Risk Behavior Among HIV-Positive Women and Female-Identified Transgenders: