Experiences of violence and association with decreased drug abstinence among women in Cape Town, South Africa
Drug abuse is a contributing factor in women’s HIV risk in low-income communities in Cape Town, South Africa. This study assessed whether experiencing violence is associated with reduced drug abstinence among adult women (n = 603) participating in a randomized field trial for an HIV prevention study in Cape Town. In relation to drug abstinence at 12-month follow-up, multivariable regression models were used to assess (1) baseline partner and non-partner victimization, and (2) victimization at 12-month follow-up among participants reporting baseline victimization. Baseline partner (AOR = 0.6; 95 % CI 0.4–0.9) and non-partner victimization (AOR = 0.6; 95 % CI 0.4–0.9) were associated with a reduced likelihood of drug abstinence at follow-up. Among participants who reported victimization at baseline, those no longer reporting victimization at follow-up did not differ significantly in drug abstinence compared with those who reported victimization at follow-up. The study findings highlight the lasting impact of victimization on women’s drug use outcomes, persisting regardless of whether violence was no longer reported at follow-up. Overall, the findings support the need for the primary prevention of violence to address the cycle of violence, drug use, and HIV among women in this setting.