Gender-based violence, alcohol use, and sexual risk among female patrons of drinking venues in Cape Town, South Africa

J Behav Med. 2013 Jun;36(3):295-304. doi: 10.1007/s10865-012-9423-3. Epub 2012 Apr 19.


Gender-based violence is a well-recognized risk factor for HIV infection among women. Alcohol use is associated with both gender-based violence and sexual risk behavior, but has not been examined as a correlate of both in a context of both high HIV risk and hazardous drinking. The purpose of this paper is to examine the association between recent abuse by a sex partner with alcohol and sexual risk behavior among female patrons of alcohol serving venues in South Africa. Specifically, the aim of this study is to determine whether sexual risk behaviors are associated with gender-based violence after controlling for levels of alcohol use. We surveyed 1,388 women attending informal drinking establishments in Cape Town, South Africa to assess recent history of gender-based violence, drinking, and sexual risk behaviors. Gender-based violence was associated with both drinking and sexual risk behaviors after controlling for demographics among the women. A hierarchical logistic regression analysis showed that after controlling for alcohol use sexual risk behavior remained significantly associated with gender-based violence, particularly with meeting a new sex partner at the bar, recent STI diagnosis, and engaging in transactional sex, but not protected intercourse or number of partners. In South Africa where heavy drinking is prevalent women may be at particular risk of physical abuse from intimate partners as well as higher sexual risk. Interventions that aim to reduce gender-based violence and sexual risk behaviors must directly work to reduce drinking behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / complications
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology*
  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Binge Drinking / complications
  • Binge Drinking / epidemiology
  • Binge Drinking / psychology
  • Developing Countries*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment*
  • South Africa
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology*
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Unsafe Sex / prevention & control
  • Unsafe Sex / psychology*
  • Unsafe Sex / statistics & numerical data*
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*