Understanding the role of intimate partner violence on HIV transmission in Zimbabwe: Secondary data analysis of data from the Zimbabwe demographic survey 2015-2016

Munyaradzi Mapingure, Tafadzwa Dzinamarira, Zindoga Mukandavire, Innocent Chingombe, Diego F. Cuadros, Rouzeh Eghtessadi, Farirai Mutenherwa, Helena Herrera, Roda Madziva, Solomon Mukwenha, Grant Murewanhema, Godfrey Musuka

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Background: Gender-based violence (GBV) has been shown to have significant and long-lasting impacts on women’s physical and mental health. It is, therefore, important to study its occurrence in a population and its intersect with infectious diseases such as HIV to inform the wider health promotion agenda. This study aimed to determine the association between GBV and HIV status in women and adolescent girls in Zimbabwe.

Methods: A secondary data analysis of data from a cross-sectional Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) was conducted. Statistical analysis was employed to establish the association between GBV and HIV status. Geospatial mapping was conducted using a kernel smoothing method was employed to generate a continuous kernel density surface to illustrate the local spatial variations of female HIV and GBV prevalence.

Results: Women and adolescent girls suffering emotional GBV, such as those subjected to humiliation by their husbands or partners, were 1.45 (1.14-1.84) [OR (95% CIs)] times more likely to be HIV positive than those who were never humiliated. The same was true for women and adolescent girls whose husbands or partners threatened to harm them or someone they love, 1.33 (1.04-1.68). There is a relationship between women’s HIV status and intimate partner aggression, such as when their partners pushed, shook, or threw something at them or physically abused them. This was also the case for those who reported that partners kicked, dragged, or beat them, tried to choke or burn them on purpose, or threatened or attacked them with a knife, gun, or other weapons. Women who experienced forced sexual violence with threats were more likely 1.61 (1.08-2.41), to be HIV positive than those women who did not experience the same.

Conclusion: GBV is widely spread in Zimbabwe. There is a need for the government to implement creative strategies to reach out to survivors, especially those that are forced to have unprotected sex and are at increased risk of HIV acquisition. This manuscript raises issues that can be addressed by robust health promotion strategies to reduce the impact of the syndemic of GBV and HIV acquisition in Zimbabwe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-119
JournalHealth Promotion Perspectives
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2023


  • HIV
  • risk factors
  • Zimbabwe
  • gender-based violence

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