SHARE project reduces incidence of intimate partner violence and HIV

13 January 2015
An HIV ribbon

A community project in Uganda involving a combination of different behavioural interventions has been shown to significantly reduce incidence of intimate partner violence (IPV) and HIV among individuals exposed to the interventions. The Safe Homes and Respect for Everyone (SHARE) project used community based interventions to reduce physical and sexual IPV, and reduce HIV incidence in the Rakai District of Uganda – an area characterised by high rates of HIV prevalence and incidence, and relatively high rates of IPV.

The study enrolled 11,448 people from a pre-existing community cohort study of people already receiving a package of HIV prevention and treatment services. Of those eligible, just over half of the respondents were given the standard package of HIV services, including HIV prevention and general health education and access to prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services, among other things. Whilst the other half were given HIV services with the SHARE intervention. The SHARE project included interventions at the community level to change attitudes, social norms and behaviours that contribute to IPV and HIV risk. It also included an intervention to reduce the risk of sexual and physical violence relating to disclosure of HIV status.

The researchers recorded self-reported experience and perpetration of past year physical, emotional and sexual IPV, as well as HIV incidence. They found that the intervention had an impact on past-year physical IPV, sexual IPV and forced sex. Only 12 percent of the respondents in the SHARE intervention self-reported past-year physical violence, compared to 16 percent in the control group. However, the difference in incidence of emotional IPV was not significant. SHARE was also associated with higher rates of HIV disclosure among both men and women. The intervention resulted in a significant reduction in HIV incidence, however after the intervention ended the reduction was not sustained.

The researcher’s remark that with the rapid scaling-up of combination prevention and health strategies focused on promoting gender equality, IPV prevention be made integral part of all HIV prevention, treatment and support services. They state: “The SHARE model is a promising, gender-responsive intervention to reduce both IPV against women and infection with HIV.”

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