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Do ask, do tell about intimate partner violence
May 7th, 2012
05:01 PM ET

Do ask, do tell about intimate partner violence

Editor's note: Dr. Sharon Horesh Bergquist is an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. As a practicing internal medicine physician, she encounters patients who are dealing with intimate partner violence, which can have serious health effects.

As a physician, I look to evidence-based guidelines to drive my medical decisions. Yet often there isn't a consensus - such as whether doctors should ask patients if their partner is being violent with them in any way (physically, sexually or emotionally).

The most recent recommendation issued by the United States Preventive Services Task Force in 2004 did not find sufficient evidence to support screening women for partner violence.  However, many professional organizations such as the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association and the Institute of Medicine support such screening.  

A study published on Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine  comprehensively reviews the studies published since 2003 on the effectiveness of screening and interventions in reducing partner violence and its related health outcomes.
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