Reciprocal physical intimate partner violence is associated with prevalent STI/HIV among male Tanzanian migrant workers: a cross-sectional study

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Abstract

Objectives

Physical intimate partner violence (IPV) and STIs, including HIV, are highly prevalent in east Africa. While we have some evidence about women's experience with physical IPV, little is known about men's experience with physical IPV, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Our objective was to examine, in Tanzanian male migrant plantation residents, the prevalence of, and associations among, experience and enactment of physical IPV and prevalent STI/HIV.

Methods

Data from a cross-sectional survey of male plantation residents (n=158) in northern Tanzania were analysed to estimate prevalence of physical IPV experience and enactment. We assessed associations between IPV and sexual risk behaviours, and serodiagnosis of HIV, herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2) and syphilis.

Results

Overall, 30% of men had experienced and/or enacted physical IPV with their main sexual partner: 19% of men had ever experienced physical IPV with their main sexual partner; 22% had enacted physical IPV with their main sexual partner. Considering overlaps in these groups, 11% of all participants reported reciprocal (both experienced and enacted) physical IPV. 9% of men were HIV seropositive, 51% were HSV-2 seropositive and 10% were syphilis seropositive—54% had at least one STI. Men who reported reciprocal physical IPV had increased odds of STI/HIV (adjusted OR (AOR) 8.85, 95% CI 1.78 to 44.6); the association retained statistical significance (AOR 14.5, 95% CI 1.4 to 147.0) with sexual risk behaviours included in the multivariate model.

Discussion

Men's physical IPV experience and enactment was common among these migrant plantation residents. Men reporting reciprocal physical IPV had significantly increased odds of prevalent STI/IPV, and we hypothesise that they have unstable relationships. Physical IPV is an important risk factor for STI/HIV transmission, and programmatic activities are needed to prevent both.

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