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Reciprocal physical intimate partner violence is associated with prevalent STI/HIV among male Tanzanian migrant workers: a cross-sectional study
  1. Alison H Norris1,
  2. Michele R Decker2,
  3. Yiska L Weisband1,
  4. Michelle J Hindin1
  1. 1Division of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  2. 2Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alison H Norris, College of Public Health, Ohio State University, 326 Cunz Hall, 1841 Neil Ave, Columbus, OH 43210-1351, USA;


Objectives Physical intimate partner violence (IPV) and STIs, including HIV, are highly prevalent in east Africa. While we have some evidence about women's experience with physical IPV, little is known about men's experience with physical IPV, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Our objective was to examine, in Tanzanian male migrant plantation residents, the prevalence of, and associations among, experience and enactment of physical IPV and prevalent STI/HIV.

Methods Data from a cross-sectional survey of male plantation residents (n=158) in northern Tanzania were analysed to estimate prevalence of physical IPV experience and enactment. We assessed associations between IPV and sexual risk behaviours, and serodiagnosis of HIV, herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2) and syphilis.

Results Overall, 30% of men had experienced and/or enacted physical IPV with their main sexual partner: 19% of men had ever experienced physical IPV with their main sexual partner; 22% had enacted physical IPV with their main sexual partner. Considering overlaps in these groups, 11% of all participants reported reciprocal (both experienced and enacted) physical IPV. 9% of men were HIV seropositive, 51% were HSV-2 seropositive and 10% were syphilis seropositive—54% had at least one STI. Men who reported reciprocal physical IPV had increased odds of STI/HIV (adjusted OR (AOR) 8.85, 95% CI 1.78 to 44.6); the association retained statistical significance (AOR 14.5, 95% CI 1.4 to 147.0) with sexual risk behaviours included in the multivariate model.

Discussion Men's physical IPV experience and enactment was common among these migrant plantation residents. Men reporting reciprocal physical IPV had significantly increased odds of prevalent STI/IPV, and we hypothesise that they have unstable relationships. Physical IPV is an important risk factor for STI/HIV transmission, and programmatic activities are needed to prevent both.

  • HIV
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  • Handling editor Jackie A Cassell

  • Contributors Study concept and design: AHN; acquisition of data: AHN; analysis and interpretation of data: AHN, MRD, YLW, MJH; drafting the manuscript: AHN, MRD, YLW, MH; critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: AHN, MRD, YLW, MH; obtained funding: AHN; administrative, technical or other material support: AHN, MH.

  • Funding This research was supported by a Fulbright-Hayes Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad fellowship, the NIH Medical Scientist Training Program at Yale University and Yale's Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS pre-doctoral fellowship (National Institute of Mental Health grant number P30MH062294), and the Charlotte Ellertson Postdoctoral Fellowship in Reproductive Health.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study received ethical research approval from the plantation's Ethical Committee, the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College Ethics Committee, the Tanzanian National Institute of Medical Research, the Tanzanian Commission on Science and Technology, and Yale University's Human Investigations Committee (protocol number 0402026440).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Scholars interested in working with unpublished data from this study should contact Alison Norris (