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Protecting adolescent girls from unwanted unprotected sex
Date:9/6/2011

Partner abuse leads to HIV infection, and black women are most at risk. A new study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing has found that 46 percent of African-American adolescent girls report that their partner did not use a condom the last time they had sex -- often because of partner abuse. The girls described physical and sexual abuse and threats as preventing them from having their partner use condoms. The relationship between HIV and partner abuse is significant: In the U.S., at least 12 percent of HIV infections among women are a result of partner abuse.

Getting out of an abusive relationship should be considered an HIV prevention strategy, according to Anne M. Teitelman, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, who published the study in the journal "Advances in Nursing Science." Dr. Teitelman and her co-authors advocate the need for novel strategies to increase condom use among adolescents. The co-authors are Julie Tennille, MSW, LSW; Julia M. Bobinski, BSN, MS; Loretta S. Jemmott, PhD, RN, FAAN; and John B. Jemmott III, PhD.

"Promoting healthy relationships among youth and preventing partner abuse in adolescent relationships should become a public health priority," writes Dr. Teitelman. "This is necessary for primary prevention of the intersecting epidemics of partner abuse and HIV/STIs [sexually transmitted infections]."

The study of 64 African-American adolescent girls, aged 14 to 17, illuminates the pressure a male partner may exercise to encourage girls to forgo condom use. Understanding the practice, which the authors term "condom coercion," can inform more tailored prevention methods and interventions for adolescent girls at high risk for HIV and STIs, the authors report. Forms of condom coercion include physical and sexual abuse and threats, emotional manipulation, and condom sabotage, as when a male partner surreptitiously removes a condom.

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Contact: Joy McIntyre
joymc@nursing.upenn.edu
215-898-5974
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Source:Eurekalert

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