Pregnancy Coercion as a Risk Factor for HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Young African American Women

Ariadna Capasso, Ralph J. DiClemente, Gina M. Wingood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Pregnancy coercion (PC), defined as a restriction of women's reproductive autonomy, may be associated with increased HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk. However, there are few empirical studies defining the association between PC and HIV risk, particularly among vulnerable African American women. SETTING AND METHODS: African American women (N = 560), ages 17-24, completed an audio computer-assisted self-interview assessing PC prevalence and its association with HIV/STI risk. Women were screened for prevalent STIs using polymerase chain reaction assays. Multivariate logistic and linear regressions evaluated the association of PC and multiple HIV/STI risk-associated outcomes. RESULTS: Women who had experienced PC in the last 3 months, relative to those not experiencing PC, were 78% more likely to test positive for an STI [adjusted odds ratio = 1.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.10 to 2.90]. Among women who experienced PC, odds of noncondom use in their last sexual encounter were 3.45-fold greater relative to women not experiencing PC (95% CI = 1.55 to 7.85). Women who experienced PC had lower condom use intentions (coefficient, -1.31, P = 0.002), greater fear of condom negotiation, and perceived more barriers to condom use (coefficients, 3.89 and 5.74, respectively, both P < 0.001). Women who experienced PC had 1.98 (95% CI = 1.22 to 3.21) and 1.82 (95% CI = 1.09 to 3.04) odds of depression and HIV worry relative to women not experiencing PC. CONCLUSION: Among African American women, PC was associated with a range of adverse sexual health outcomes and HIV/STI-related behaviors and attitudes. The findings underscore the need for promoting gender-equitable social norms in HIV prevention interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S155-S161
JournalJournal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999)
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Adolescent
  • African Americans/psychology
  • Coercion
  • Female
  • HIV Infections/epidemiology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Partners/psychology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases/epidemiology
  • Spouse Abuse/psychology
  • United States/epidemiology
  • Unsafe Sex/psychology
  • Young Adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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