Effects of gender based violence on neurocognitive functioning in HIV positive individuals
Background: Gender based violence is being recognized as a global problem1. Given the rampant trends of violence against women and girls in Zambia which include battery, sexual abuse and exploitation, sexual cleansing, assault and other forms of violence2, women are prone to increasingly mental health problems.
Methodology: This was a cross sectional survey study ccomprising of 263 HIV+ adults aged between 20 and 65. An International Neurobehavioral Test Battery (INTB) was used to review the effects of GBV on neurocognitive functioning among HIV positive individuals in Lusaka's selected urban clinics.
Results: Respondents who experienced GBV showed cognition deficits in working memory, verbal learning and recall. Pearson's correlation test showed a negative correlation on both psychological and sexual abuse on working memory r (263) = -.19, p = .002; r (263) = -.16, p = .008 and verbal learning r (263) = -.15, p = .018; r (263) = -.17, p = .006 respectively. On recall memory tests, only sexually abused respondents indicated significant negative correlation, r = -.12, n = 263, p = .044.
Conclusion: The finding of the present study suggests that GBV and depressive symptoms are independent predictors of neurocognitive deficits in HIV positive women in Zambia.
Key words: Gender Based Violence, Neurocognitive functioning, HIV positive individuals