The Association between Remarriage and HIV Infection in Africa. Evidence from National HIV Surveys in Africa

Damien de Walque, World Bank Group
Rachel Kline, World Bank Group

The literature shows that divorced, separated, and widowed individuals in Africa are at significantly increased risk for HIV. Using nationally representative data from 13 sub-Saharan African countries, we confirm that formerly married individuals are significantly more likely to be HIV positive. The study presented in this paper goes further by examining individuals who have remarried. The results show that remarried individuals form a large portion of the population and that they have a higher than average HIV prevalence. This elevated HIV prevalence may come from the previous spouse, multiple partners between marriages, and infrequent condom use. Whatever the source, the remarried are highly likely to pass HIV onto their spouse. This large number of high-risk remarried individuals is an important source of vulnerability and further infection that needs to be acknowledged and taken into account by prevention strategies that currently rarely address this population.

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Presented in Session 24: HIV/AIDS