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      Linking gender, extramarital affairs, and HIV: a mixed methods study on contextual determinants of extramarital affairs in rural Tanzania

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          Extramarital sex is a potential driver of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission for long-term couples in sub-Saharan Africa. It is increasingly recognized that preventing sexual risk behaviours requires an understanding and adjustment of sexual relationship factors beyond the individual level. We investigated the association between extramarital affairs and HIV status, factors associated with extramarital affairs, and created insights in the context and pathways for married men and women in rural Tanzania who engage in extramarital affairs.


          A cross-sectional sequential explanatory mixed method design was employed. The WHO-Social determinants of health perspective guided the study. Using logistic regression, we analysed the MZIMA project community surveillance representative sample of 3884 married partners aged 15+ residing in Ifakara town, Tanzania (2012–2013). Multinomial logistic regression analysis established the relative risk ratio (RRR) of different social and economic factors with lifetime (proxy) and recent (12 months prior to survey) extramarital affairs. Logistic regression analysis determined the association between extramarital affairs and HIV status. Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions explored the quantitative findings, capturing the experiences and norms regarding extramarital affairs.


          We found a significant association between lifetime (proxy) extramarital affairs and HIV infection among women only. The RRR of having extramarital affairs (lifetime proxy) was significantly higher among Village Community Bank (VICOBA) members, the re-married, consumers of alcohol, those from southern regions, non-Muslims, and those with older age. In the case of recent extramarital affairs (12 months prior to survey), associations were significant for the same variables except for religion, having an income was also associated with the outcome. Qualitative narratives reflected that, desire to prove manhood (masculinity) supported by societal normative beliefs such as; ‘it is not realistic for a man to stay without extramarital partner’ and religious beliefs; ‘a man shall dominate a woman’ encouraged men’s extramarital affairs. For women, striving for financial autonomy, obligations to pay back debts borrowed from several VICOBA, and limited support from their husbands encouraged their engagement in extramarital affairs. Low relationship quality (conflict and sexual dissatisfaction) were reported to encourage both men and women’s extramarital affairs.


          The findings show that the link between extramarital affairs and HIV has a gender dimension in which women are more likely to acquire HIV through extramarital affairs (case of recent extramarital affairs (12 months prior to survey). Future programs seeking to address risk sexual behaviors in Tanzanian marriages can consider context-sensitive interventions which address aspects beyond ‘individual risk’ and women’s financial uncertainties, and include couple’s relationship quality, excessive alcohol behaviors, normative masculinity ideology and societal norms, that encourage women’s economic dependence and men’s engagement in multiple sexual partnerships. Microfinance projects (e.g. VICOBA) could be a platform for gender-transformative approaches, combining economic empowerment and HIV risk protection strategies.

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          Addressing social drivers of HIV/AIDS for the long-term response: conceptual and methodological considerations.

          A key component of the shift from an emergency to a long-term response to AIDS is a change in focus from HIV prevention interventions focused on individuals to a comprehensive strategy in which social/structural approaches are core elements. Such approaches aim to modify social conditions by addressing key drivers of HIV vulnerability that affect the ability of individuals to protect themselves and others from HIV. The development and implementation of evidence-based social/structural interventions have been hampered by both scientific and political obstacles that have not been fully explored or redressed. This paper provides a framework, examples, and some guidance for how to conceptualise, operationalise, measure, and evaluate complex social/structural approaches to HIV prevention to help situate them more concretely in a long-term strategy to end AIDS.
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            The intersections of HIV and violence: directions for future research and interventions.

            The purpose of this paper is to review the available literature on the intersections between HIV and violence and present an agenda for future research to guide policy and programs. This paper aims to answer four questions: (1) How does forced sex affect women's risk for HIV infection? (2) How do violence and threats of violence affect women's ability to negotiate condom use? (3) Is the risk of violence greater for women living with HIV infection than for noninfected women? (4) What are the implications of the existing evidence for the direction of future research and interventions? Together this collection of 29 studies from the US and from sub-Saharan Africa provides evidence for several different links between the epidemics of HIV and violence. However, there are a number of methodological limitations that can be overcome with future studies. First, additional prospective studies are needed to describe the ways which violence victimization may increase women's risk for HIV and how being HIV positive affects violence risk. Future studies need to describe men's perspective on both HIV risk and violence in order to develop effective interventions targeting men and women. The definitions and tools for measurement of concepts such as physical violence, forced sex, HIV risk, and serostatus disclosure need to be harmonized in the future. Finally, combining qualitative and quantitative research methods will help to describe the context and scope of the problem. The service implications of these studies are significant. HIV counseling and testing programs offer a unique opportunity to identify and assist women at risk for violence and to identify women who may be at high risk for HIV as a result of their history of assault. In addition, violence prevention programs, in settings where such programs exist, also offer opportunities to counsel women about their risks for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.
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              Susceptibility to Infidelity in the First Year of Marriage


                Author and article information

                AIDS Res Ther
                AIDS Res Ther
                AIDS Research and Therapy
                BioMed Central (London )
                7 June 2018
                7 June 2018
                : 15
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0000 9144 642X, GRID grid.414543.3, Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), ; Ifakara, Tanzania
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0587 0574, GRID grid.416786.a, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), ; Basel, Switzerland
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1937 0642, GRID grid.6612.3, University of Basel, ; Basel, Switzerland
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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