Background: Sexual violence is a global health concern affecting more than a third of women especially those in low and middle income countries. HIV is one of the consequences of sexual violence but it can also be a risk factor. Different forms and contexts of sexual violence exist and have a negative impact on the psychological wellbeing and health care seeking behaviour and of the victims and their families. This study determined the prevalence and forms of sexual violence among women seeking HIV services at selected health facilities in Buhweju district, southwestern Uganda.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study among 324 HIV positive women in four health facilities in Buhweju district, southwestern Uganda. We used a researcher administered questionnaire to collect data on sociodemographic characteristics, burden and forms of sexual violence, services sought by the victims and sexual violence screening by health workers. Data were analyzed with Chi square and logistic regression using SPSS version 20 at 95% level of significance
Results: A total of 324 women participated in the study with a mean age of 35.05 ± 12.212 years and majority had primary level of education. The prevalence of sexual violence among the study participants was 32.7% (106/324). The most common forms of sexual violence were sexual humiliation, forced genital touching and insertion of an object into genitalia. Husbands of the victims were the most common perpetrators, less than a quarter of the victims of sexual violence disclosed the incidents and only 15% of the victims sought medical help. The common medical help sought included post-exposure prophylaxis (4.9%), HIV test (9.3%) and emergency contraception (5.6%). Being married (p = 0.035, 95%CI 0.069-0.905) was protective against sexual violence.
Conclusion and recommendation: A third of HIV women seeking care from health facilities in Buhweju district experience sexual violence, more than three quarters of the victims do not disclose the incidents to other people and very few seek medical help. The most common forms of sexual violence include sexual humiliation, forced genital touching and insertion of an object into genitalia.