Impact of Sexual Trauma on HIV Care Engagement: Perspectives of Female Patients with Trauma Histories in Cape Town, South Africa.

Journal Article

South African women have disproportionately high rates of both sexual trauma and HIV. To understand how sexual trauma impacts HIV care engagement, we conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with 15 HIV-infected women with sexual trauma histories, recruited from a public clinic in Cape Town. Interviews explored trauma narratives, coping behaviors and care engagement, and transcripts were analyzed using a constant comparison method. Participants reported multiple and complex traumas across their lifetimes. Sexual trauma hindered HIV care engagement, especially immediately following HIV diagnosis, and there were indications that sexual trauma may interfere with future care engagement, via traumatic stress symptoms including avoidance. Disclosure of sexual trauma was limited; no women had disclosed to an HIV provider. Routine screening for sexual trauma in HIV care settings may help to identify individuals at risk of poor care engagement. Efficacious treatments are needed to address the psychological and behavioral sequelae of trauma.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Watt, MH; Dennis, AC; Choi, KW; Ciya, N; Joska, JA; Robertson, C; Sikkema, KJ

Published Date

  • November 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 3209 - 3218

PubMed ID

  • 27866288

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-3254

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1090-7165

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10461-016-1617-1

Language

  • eng