Intimate partner and client‐perpetrated violence are associated with reduced HIV pre‐exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake, depression and generalized anxiety in a cross‐sectional study of female sex workers from Nairobi, Kenya
Maria Leis, Miranda McDermott, Alex Koziarz, Leah Szadkowski, Antony Kariri, Tara S Beattie, Rupert Kaul, Joshua Kimani
Journal of the International AIDS Society
UNAIDS has identified female sex workers (FSW) as a key HIV at-risk population. FSW disproportionately experience gender-based violence, which compounds their risk of HIV acquisition and may contribute to adverse mental health outcomes. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a powerful but underused HIV prevention tool for these women. This study explored the associations between intimate partner violence (IPV) and client-perpetrated violence against FSW, mental health outcomes and PrEP use. An
... ymous questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample of 220 Nairobi FSW attending dedicated clinics from June to July 2019, where PrEP was available free of charge. A modified version of the WHO Violence Against Women Instrument assessed IPV and client-perpetrated violence, and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) assessed depressive and anxiety symptoms respectively. Multivariable logistic regressions evaluated predictors of depression, generalized anxiety and PrEP use. Of the total 220 women (median [IQR] age 32 [27-39]), 56.8% (125/220) reported depression (PHQ-9 ≥ 10) and 39.1% (86/220) reported anxiety (GAD-7 ≥ 10). Only 41.4% (91/220) reported optimal use of PrEP (taken correctly six to seven days/week) despite the cohort pursuing sex work for a median of 7 (4 to 12) years. Most women reported experiencing any violence in the past 12 months (90%, 198/220). Any recent IPV was frequent (78.7%, 129/164), particularly emotional IPV (66.5%, 109/164), as was any client-perpetrated violence in the past 12 months (80.9%, 178/220). Regression analyses found that violence was independently associated with depression (adjusted OR [aOR] 9.39, 95% CI 2.90 to 30.42, p = 0.0002) and generalized anxiety (aOR 3.47, 95% CI 1.10 to 10.88, p = 0.03), with the strongest associations between emotional IPV and both depression and anxiety. Recent client-perpetrated emotional violence (aOR 0.23, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.71, p = 0.01) was associated with decreased PrEP use, whereas client-perpetrated physical violence was associated with increased PrEP use (aOR 3.01, 95% CI 1.16 to 7.81, p = 0.02). There was a high prevalence of recent violence by different perpetrators as well as depression and anxiety among FSW from Nairobi. PrEP use was relatively infrequent, and recent client-perpetrated emotional violence was associated with PrEP non-use. Interventions to reduce gender-based violence may independently enhance HIV prevention and reduce the mental health burden in this community.