Prevention Science

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 55-62

First online:

HIV/AIDS Risks among Men and Women Who Drink at Informal Alcohol Serving Establishments (Shebeens) in Cape Town, South Africa

  • Seth C. KalichmanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Connecticut Email author 
  • , Leickness C. SimbayiAffiliated withHuman Sciences Research Council
  • , Redwaan VermaakAffiliated withHuman Sciences Research Council
  • , Sean JoosteAffiliated withHuman Sciences Research Council
  • , Demetria CainAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Connecticut

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HIV/AIDS is devastating southern Africa and the spread of HIV is fueled in some populations by alcohol use. Alcohol serving establishments, such as informal drinking places or shebeens, often serve as high-risk venues for HIV transmission. The current study examined the HIV risks of men (N = 91) and women (N = 248) recruited from four shebeens in a racially integrating township in Cape Town South Africa. Participants completed confidential measures of demographic characteristics, HIV risk history, alcohol and drug use, and HIV risk behaviors. Comparisons of 94 (28%) participants who reported meeting sex partners at shebeens to the remaining sample of shebeen goers, controlling for potential confounds, demonstrated a pattern of higher risk for HIV infection among persons who met sex partners at shebeens. Few differences, however, were observed between men (N = 47) and women (N = 47) who had met sex partners at shebeens, suggesting greater gender similarities than gender differences in this important subpopulation. These results indicate an urgent need for multi-level HIV prevention interventions targeting shebeens and the men and women who drink in these settings.


HIV prevention Alcohol and sexual risk Drinking places South Africa