Intimate partner violence: Screen others, besides heterosexual women



We were happy to learn in “Time to routinely screen for intimate partner violence?” (PURLs. J Fam Pract. 2013;62:90-92) that the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) agrees with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that all women of childbearing age should be screened for intimate partner violence (IPV).1 Although the USPSTF recommendation comes 2 years after that of the IOM, it is truly better late than never.

Two populations with known IPV issues require special consideration: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) patients and heterosexual men. The rate of IPV is higher in the LGBT population than in heterosexual men and women cohabitating with their partners.2 Despite high rates of IPV within the LGBT population, women in this group frequently are overlooked for IPV screening.2

We must remember to screen men in heterosexual relationships, as well. In 2000, the National Violence Against Women survey found that 7% of men reported having experienced IPV in their lifetime.2 Given this data, we believe that all patients ages 14 years and older—regardless of gender or sexual orientation—should be screened for IPV. This would be a much-needed step towards addressing a major public health problem.

Barbara McMillan-Persaud, MD
Kyra P. Clark, MD
Riba Kelsey-Harris, MD
Folashade Omole, MD, FAAFP
Atlanta, Ga

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