February 1, 2012

IPV screening encouraged in OB/Gyn clinical settings

Obstetrician-gynecologists are in a unique position to assess and provide support for women who experience intimate partner violence (IPV) because of the nature of the patient?physician relationship and the many opportunities for intervention that occur during the course of pregnancy, family planning, annual examinations, and other women’s health visits according to an official opinion statement released by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Although women of all ages may experience IPV, it is most prevalent among women of reproductive age and contributes to gynecologic disorders, pregnancy complications, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Physicians should screen all women for IPV at periodic intervals, including during obstetric care (at the first prenatal visit, at least once per trimester, and at the postpartum checkup), offer ongoing support, and review available prevention and referral options.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant yet preventable public health problem that affects millions of women regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or educational background. Individuals who are subjected to IPV may have lifelong consequences, including emotional trauma, lasting physical impairment, chronic health problems, and even death.