Do Sexual Partners Talk to Each Other About HIV? Exploring Factors Associated with HIV-Related Partner Communication Among Men and Women in Tanzania

Virginia A. Fonner, Jessie Mbwambo, Caitlin E. Kennedy, Deanna Kerrigan, Michael D. Sweat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Communication between sexual partners is an important component of HIV prevention and occurs within a broader context of socio-culturally defined gender norms and dynamics. We analyzed cross-sectional data from a community-based random sample of men and women living in Kisarawe, Tanzania to understand factors related to partner communication about HIV. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses, disaggregated by gender, included variables at the individual-, relational-, and community-levels. Individuals who knew their HIV-positive status prior to the study were excluded as the focus was on risk communication, not HIV status disclosure. Of 524 participants, 129 women (43.3%) and 96 men (42.5%) reported HIV-related communication with their most recent sexual partner. For women but not men, individual-level socioeconomic factors—including education, possession of a household radio, and employment—and relational-level factors—including partner age and type—were significantly associated with partner communication. At the community level, being socially engaged was positively correlated with partner communication across genders (aOR = 2.02, 95% CI 1.05–3.89, p = 0.03 for men and aOR = 1.74, 95% CI 1.03–2.95, p = 0.04 for women). For women, having less discriminatory attitudes toward people living with HIV and favorable perceived norms of HIV-related communication were significantly associated with partner communication. For men, agreeing that women should be allowed to work outside the home was significantly correlated with partner communication (aOR = 6.02, 95% CI 2.23–16.24, p < 0.001). Findings suggest a link between gender dynamics and partner communication, with individual and relational factors being associated with communication for women and community-level factors being associated with communication for both genders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-902
Number of pages12
JournalAIDS and behavior
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Keywords

  • Dyad
  • Gender norms
  • HIV prevention
  • Partner communication
  • Socio-ecological model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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