Intimate partner violence and sexually transmitted disease symptoms in a national sample of married Bangladeshi women
To assess associations of intimate partner violence (IPV) with women's sexually transmitted disease (STD) symptoms, and to clarify biological and behavioral mechanisms underpinning heightened STD rates among abused women. A cross-sectional investigation of married couples (n=2865) sampled via the Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey. Over one third (38%) of married Bangladeshi women experienced physical or sexual IPV in the 12 months preceding the survey. Victimization was bivariately associated with vaginal irritation/discharge, pelvic pain during intercourse, genital sores/ulcers, and vaginal discharge with odor (OR 1.39-2.09). IPV demonstrated an independent effect on vaginal irritation with discharge (adjusted OR 1.34) and vaginal discharge with odor (adjusted OR 2.08) after accounting for STD exposure (i.e., husbands' recent STD). IPV elevates married Bangladeshi women's STD symptoms beyond the risk represented by husbands' STD alone, suggesting that high rates of STD among abusive men and the context of violence itself both relate to abused women's STD risk.