Domestic Violence Linked to Long-Term Health Problems

Almost a quarter of women experience domestic violence in their lifetimes in the US, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds. Victims of domestic violence in the US are more likely to report chronic health problems and exhibit health risk behaviors the report stated.

A Reuters article estimates from the CDC data that women who experience domestic violence are three times as likely to exhibit sexual behaviors that put them at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and that they are 70 percent more likely to binge drink than other women.

The CDC also finds that women who are victims of domestic violence are 1.3 times more likely to have high blood cholesterol and 3.1 times more likely to have risk factors for STDs. They are also significantly more likely to use disability equipment such as a cane or wheelchair.

“One in four women and one in seven men experience physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Those who experience intimate partner violence during their lifetime were also more likely to report a range of adverse health conditions and health risk behaviors,” Dr. Michele Black, one of the authors of the CDC report, told HealthDay News.

The results reflect findings from previous studies that state women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence than men, and multiracial women and American Indian/Alaska native women are more likely to be victims than white women. It is also more common among women and men who have lower-incomes and for women who have some college education.

The report is based off of an annual telephone survey on domestic violence that was completed in 16 states and 2 territories. The authors of the report emphasize the need for health-care professionals to assess a patient’s exposure to domestic violence when treating chronic health problems.


CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 02/08/08; HealthDay News 02/07/08; Reuters 02/07/08

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