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Project: Age disparate relationships, condom use and the spread of HIV among young men and women in Cape Town, South Africa

01/01/10 – 30/06/10

Given the unacceptably high HIV incidence rates among girls and young women in South Africa, there is an urgent need to identify and address risk factors for unprotected sex in this vulnerable population. Relationships between older men and young women may increase the HIV incidence in the latter for at least two reasons: Firstly, older men are more likely to be HIV positive due to a greater cumulative risk of HIV acquisition. Secondly, qualitative research suggests that condom negotiation is jeopardised in such age disparate relationships due to economic and gender inequalities. As indicate above, this research project aims to investigate the patterns of age mixing among youths and young adults in metropolitan Cape Town, and the association between age disparities and risky sexual behaviour. Further, the impact of reducing age disparate relationships on the spread of HIV will be evaluated using a model-based epidemiological simulation tool.