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Relationship Power, Antiretroviral Adherence, and Physical and Mental Health Among Women Living with HIV in Rural Kenya

  • Burger, Rachel L
  • Cohen, Craig R
  • Mocello, A Rain
  • Dworkin, Shari L
  • Frongillo, Edward A
  • Weke, Elly
  • Butler, Lisa M
  • Thirumurthy, Harsha
  • Bukusi, Elizabeth A
  • Weiser, Sheri D
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2023
eScholarship - University of California
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Little is known about the association of gender-based power imbalances and health and health behaviors among women with HIV (WWH). We examined cross-sectional baseline data among WWH in a cluster-randomized control trial (NCT02815579) in rural Kenya. We assessed associations between the Sexual Relationship Power Scale (SRPS) and ART adherence, physical and mental health, adjusting for sociodemographic and social factors. SRPS consists of two subscales: relationship control (RC) and decision-making dominance. Women in the highest and middle tertiles for RC had a 7.49 point and 8.88 point greater Medical Outcomes Study-HIV mental health score, and a 0.27 and 0.29 lower odds of depression, respectively, compared to women in the lowest tertile. We did not find associations between SPRS or its subscales and ART adherence. Low sexual relationship power, specifically low RC, may be associated with poor mental health among WWH. Intervention studies aimed to improve RC among WWH should be studied to determine their effect on improving mental health.

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