News 24, HIV shock for married couples, 14 September 2004

Elsabé Brits

Cape Town - A recent study found that South Africa's rate of HIV among married couples, 10.5%, was horrifyingly high compared to global statistics.

Five researchers from the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), under the leadership of Olive Shisana and a researcher from the University of Pennsylvania in America, found that there was not a big difference between the HIV rate among married couples (10.5%) and unmarried people (15.7%) in South Africa.

They found that the risk of being infected while married was directly related to sexual practices within the South African community. One of the reasons was the sexual conduct of married men.

The researchers wrote in the South African Medical Journal that although extra-marital sex for married women was taboo, the same did not apply for men.

These men also don't use a condom when having sex with their wives as they are scared they will be asked questions.

Higher among married couples

The researchers found that married women ran a greater risk of being infected as they did not use condoms - believing their husbands were faithful.

Of the 6 000 people who took part in the study, 13% of them who were HIV-positive admitted they had not used a condom in their last sexual encounter.

Researchers also found the incidence of HIV among well-off married South Africans was higher than among well-off single South Africans.

On the other hand, HIV is less prevalent among poor married couples than it is among poor single people.

Experts feel it is crucial for married couples to take part in Aids-prevention campaigns and recommend couple go for testing.

Edited by Iaine Harper




Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.