Alcohol use and sexual risk behaviour among men and women in inner-city Johannesburg, South Africa

Braimoh Bello, Harry Moultrie, Aleefia Somji, Matthew F. Chersich, Charlotte Watts and Sinead Delany-Moretlwe BMC Public Health, 2017; Alcohol use and sexual risk behaviour among men and women in inner-city Johannesburg, South Africa

Alcohol misuse is a key factor underlying the vulnerability to HIV infection among men and women in sub-Saharan Africa, especially within urban settings. Its effects, however, vary by type of drinking, population group and are modified by socio-cultural co-factors.

This qualitative study conducted interviews with a random sample of 1465 men living in single-sex hostels and 1008 women in adjacent informal settlements in inner-city, Johannesburg, South Africa. The findings show that alcohol use and sexual behaviours are strongly linked among male and female migrant populations in inner-city Johannesburg.

The paper recommends more rigorous interventions at both local and macro level to alleviate alcohol harms and mitigate the alcohol-HIV nexus, especially among already vulnerable groups. These interventions should:

  • target the specific dimensions of alcohol use that are harmful
  • assist women who drink to do so more safely
  • address the linkages between alcohol and sexual violence.

This paper is part of the BMC Public Health supplement Urban Health at the Edge: A Series on Reproductive Health and HIV in Inner-City Johannesburg. Read the introduction and find links to other STRIVE papers in the series here.

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