Gender Norms and HIV Testing/Treatment Uptake: Evidence from a Large Population-Based Sample in South Africa

J. Pulerwitz, A. Gottert, K. Kahn, N. Haberland, A. Julien, A. Selin, R. Twine, D. Peacock, X. Gómez-Olivé, S. A. Lippman, A. Pettifor

How does the endorsement of different dimensions of gender norms by men and/or women influence their use of HIV testing and antiretroviral treatment? This question was examined using data from a 2014 population-based survey of 1053 women and 1004 men, ages 18–49, in rural South Africa. We used a global measure for views toward gender norms (the GEM Scale), plus four subsets of scale items (all reliabilities ≥ 0.7). In multivariate analyses using the global measure, endorsement of inequitable gender norms was associated with more testing (AOR 2.47, p < 0.01) and less treatment use (AOR 0.15, p < 0.01) among women but not men. When examining specific subsets of inequitable norms (e.g., endorsing men as the primary decision-maker), decreased odds of treatment use was found for men as well (AOR 0.18, p < 0.01). Careful attention to the role specific gender norms play in HIV service uptake can yield useful programmatic recommendations.

November 13, 2019
Year of publication
Resource types
Journal and research articles
gender dimensions, gender equality, gender norms, HIV testing uptake, linkage to care

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