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About Abuse

Abuse Among People Living with HIV/AIDS

Updated: May 25, 2018

The abuser is living with HIV/AIDS. In what ways could s/he use his/her HIV status to be abusive?

Abusers may use their HIV/AIDS- status as a way to threaten, harass, and/or abuse their partners. Here are some ways that abusers may try to use their HIV-positive status as a way to control or hurt their partners:

  • manipulating a victim into believing that the abuser’s health will get worse if the victim leaves;
  • blaming the victim for any negative changes in the abuser’s health;
  • infecting or threatening to infect a victim to intimidate him/her into staying;
  • faking illness in order to get a victim to stay or to return if s/he has already left;
  • forcing the victim to do sexual acts against his/her will that put the victim at risk for contracting HIV or threatening to commit these acts; and
  • purposefully trying to infect the victim under the theory that if the victim is also infected, there is a better chance that s/he won’t leave the abuser.1

1 This information has been adapted from information compiled by the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence’s “Domestic Violence and HIV/AIDS” page.