PROPAGATING HIV RISK: THE INFLUENCE OF GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE, RAPE MYTH ACCEPTANCE, ALCOHOL USE, AND DEMOGRAPHICS IN THE SOUTH AFRICA HIV/AIDS EPIDEMIC
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Gender-based violence (GBV) and rape myth acceptance (RMA) have received increasing attention as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) epidemic in South Africa continues to engage researchers, health care providers, and human rights activists. South Africa has among the highest rates of HIV/AIDS and violence against women worldwide. As such, investigations into the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa have shifted from a concern solely with biological transmission risks to deconstructing the sociocultural context of HIV/AIDS. The current study sought to assess the potential relationship between GBV and RMA, and the impact of alcohol use, age, and employment on these issues. Problem drinking and alcohol, marijuana, and other drug use significantly increased the likelihood of all types of GBV perpetration but did not moderate the relationship between RMA and GBV. Men below the ages of 21 years had increasing levels of sexual GBV perpetration with increasing levels of RMA whereas the opposite was true for men over 22 years. Results also revealed that while students’ likelihood of psychological GBV perpetration was unaffected by RMA, employed males experienced an increasing likelihood of perpetration with increasing levels of RMA but unemployed males experienced decreasing likelihood of perpetration with increasing levels of RMA. The implications of prevention in the context of substance use and amongst younger boys and employed men are explored and have great potential for policy makers and practitioners tailoring current programming to slow the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa.