Objectives: Low relationship power and victimization by intimate partner violence (IPV) have been linked to HIV risks among adult and adolescent women. This article examines associations of IPV and relationship power with sexual-risk behaviors and whether the associations differ by gender among South African adolescents.
Method: Sexual-risk behaviors (multiple partners in past 3 months; condom use at last sex), IPV, and relationship power were collected from 786 sexually experienced adolescents (mean age = 16.9) in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, during the 54-month follow-up of a HIV/sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk-reduction intervention trial. The data were analyzed with logistic regression models.
Results: Adolescent boys were less likely to report condom use at last sex (p = .001) and more likely to report multiple partners (p < .001). A Gender × IPV interaction (p = .002) revealed that as IPV victimization increased, self-reported condom use at last sex decreased among girls, but increased among boys. A Gender × Relationship Power interaction (p = .004) indicated that as relationship power increased, self-reported condom use at last sex increased among girls, but decreased among boys. A Gender × IPV interaction (p = .004) indicated that as IPV victimization increased, self-reports of having multiple partners increased among boys, but not among girls. As relationship power increased, self-reports of having multiple partners decreased irrespective of gender.
Conclusions: HIV risk-reduction interventions and policies should address gender differences in sexual-risk consequences of IPV and relationship power among adolescents and promote gender equity.
Published in Volume 35, Issue 7, pages 751-760