Marriage as a risk factor for HIV: Learning from the experiences of HIV-infected women in Malawi

L. Mkandawire-Valhmu, C. Wendland, P. E. Stevens, P. M. Kako, A. Dressel, J. Kibicho Global Public Health, 2013; Vol 8, Issue 2 Download publication (open access not available)

How do women understand the effects of marriage on their risk of HIV infection? 

In light of the gender inequalities that characterise intimate partner relationships in Malawi, this paper argues that marriage is an important risk factor for HIV infection among women. 

Drawing from focus group discussions with 72 women attending antiretroviral clinics in Malawi, the article explores narratives of:

  • why women enter marriage
  • what women's experiences are within marriage
  • how women leave spouses for other relationships
  • women's lives after separation, abandonment or widowhood.

The analysis of these narratives forms the basis for the authors’ recommendations for minimising the risks of HIV attendant on marriage.

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