HIV Safety Card: Sex, Relationships, Getting Tested - Taking Control of Your Health
Experiencing intimate partner and sexual violence increases the risk for becoming infected with HIV. Once infected, people living with HIV who are also suffering abuse may experience escalation of violence upon disclosure of their status – resulting in potentially lethal outcomes. Intimate partner violence (IPV) can also prevent survivors living with HIV from accessing necessary treatment and care, and the stress caused by abuse can further compromise their immune systems and accelerate the progression of the disease. From HIV prevention to testing, treatment, and long term care, health care providers have many opportunities to reduce the isolation of survivors and increase their options for safety and better health.
The “Sex, Relationships and Getting Tested: Taking Control of Your Health” Safety Card was designed for STI testing and counseling settings. The card is designed to help patients recognize how their intimate relationship(s) may impact their health and relative risk of becoming infected with HIV or other STIs, while providing information for safety planning and referral.
This tool is most effective when used by health care providers to start a conversation around healthy relationships and how violence can affect your health; these conversations can occur both before and after testing occurs. If there is a positive result, these cards are particularly helpful in prompting both the patient and provider to think through safe and/or anonymous methods of partner notification. The card can also be placed in private areas such as restrooms or exam rooms.
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