The prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) is alarmingly high among South African adolescent girls and young women (AGYW). Limited data exist exploring how IPV prevalence and its risk factors differ by age. Study data were from the baseline visit of HPTN 068, a randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted from 2011 to 2015 in Mpumalanga, South Africa. A cohort of 2,533 AGYW, aged 13 years to 20 years, answered survey questions on demographics and behaviors, including their experiences of physical and sexual violence ever and in the past 12 months. We calculated the prevalence of IPV and related risk factors, as well as prevalence ratios with 95% confidence intervals, stratified by age. Nearly one quarter (19.5%, 95% CI = [18.0, 21.2]) of AGYW experienced any IPV ever (physical or sexual) by a partner. The prevalence of any IPV ever among AGYW aged 13 years to 14 years, 15 years to 16 years, and 17 years to 20 years was 10.8%, 17.7%, and 32.1%, respectively. Key variables significantly associated with any IPV ever across all age groups included borrowing money from someone outside the home in the past 12 months, ever having had vaginal sex, ever having had anal sex, and consuming any alcohol. Few statistically significant associations were unique to specific age groups. The history of IPV among the youngest AGYW is a critical finding and should be a focus of prevention efforts.
Keywords: Africa; data processing and interpretation; research methods; social sciences.