Intimate partner violence and prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV: Evidence from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Margaret W. Gichane, Kathryn E. Moracco, Harsha Thirumurthy, Emile W. Okitolonda, Frieda Behets, Marcel Yotebieng

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3 Scopus citations


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a risk factor for non-adherence to HIV treatment for women, however the evidence on the impact of IPV on uptake of the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) cascade is inconclusive. We examined data from 433 HIV positive pregnant women in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, enrolled between April 2013 and August 2014 and followed-up through 6 weeks postpartum. Participants were asked about their IPV experiences in a face-to-face interview at enrollment. Measures of PMTCT cascade included: uptake of clinical appointments and services, viral suppression, and adherence to antiretrovirals (ARV). Approximately half of the sample (51%) had experienced some form of IPV; 35% had experienced emotional abuse, 29% physical abuse, and 19% sexual abuse. There were no statistically significant associations between experiencing any form of IPV and uptake of clinical appointments and services (Adjusted Prevalence Ratio [aPR] = 1.02; 95% [CI]: 0.89–1.17), viral load suppression (aPR = 1.07, 95% CI:0.96–1.19) and ARV adherence (aPR = 1.01, 95% CI: 0.87–1.18). Findings from this study indicate that, among HIV-infected pregnant women enrolled in PMTCT care, experiencing IPV does not reduce adherence to clinic visits and services, adherence to ARV. The high prevalence of IPV in this population suggests that IPV screening and intervention should be included as part of standard care for PMTCT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0203471
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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