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Efforts to prevent domestic abuse in women may aid in the global fight against HIV infection, new research suggests.

A large population-based study of married women in India shows the prevalence of HIV infection is 4 times greater among those who experience physical and sexual violence at the hands of their partners compared with women who are not abused.

Led by Jay G. Silverman, PhD, investigators at the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, Massachusetts, say their findings should "move public-health policy-makers and practitioners to increase recognition of intimate-partner violence [IPV] as a critically important target in the global fight against HIV/AIDS."

The study is published August 13 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in a special theme issue on violence and human rights.

With the third-largest number of HIV cases of any country in the world, India is recognized as the source of increasing HIV prevalence. Recent estimates reveal 0.22% of women and 0.36% of men aged 15 to 49 years are HIV positive.