Women in South Africa are less likely to adhere well to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) if they experience intimate partner violence, aidsmap reports. Publishing their findings in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, researchers from the Partners PrEP trial studied 1,785 HIV-negative women in a relationship with an HIV-positive man, conducting monthly interviews with them about any incidents of verbal, physical or economic intimate partner violence.

The researchers measured the women’s adherence to PrEP according to pill count (taking less than 80 percent of doses was considered low adherence) and the levels of Viread (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, or TDF) levels in their blood.

Sixteen percent of the women reported intimate partner violence during a median 34.8 months of follow-up.

Women had low adherence according to pill count at 7 percent of visits and low adherence according to Viread levels at 32 percent of visits. Those who reported intimate partner violence were 49 percent more likely to have low adherence according to the first measure and 51 percent more likely according to the second.

Verbal, economic and physical intimate partner violence were all linked with low adherence. This effect did not appear long-lasting, however. There was no statistically significant relationship between such violence and low adherence three months following women’s reporting of an incident.

The women reported that intimate partner violence affected their adherence through stress and forgetfulness, through leaving home without their pills and their partners throwing away their pills.

To read the aidsmap article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.