Prevention Science

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 627-634

First online:

HIV Risks Associated with Patronizing Alcohol Serving Establishments in South African Townships, Cape Town

  • Demetria CainAffiliated withCenter for Health Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut Email author 
  • , Valerie PareAffiliated withCenter for Health Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut
  • , Seth C. KalichmanAffiliated withCenter for Health Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut
  • , Ofer HarelAffiliated withCenter for Health Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut
  • , Jacqueline MthembuAffiliated withHuman Sciences Research Council
  • , Michael P. CareyAffiliated withCenter for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, The Miriam HospitalBrown University
  • , Kate B. CareyAffiliated withBrown University
  • , Vuyelwa MehlomakuluAffiliated withHuman Sciences Research Council
  • , Leickness C. SimbayiAffiliated withHuman Sciences Research Council
    • , Kelvin MwabaAffiliated withUniversity of the Western Cape

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Alcohol use has been closely linked with HIV risk behaviors in South Africa. The places where people drink are often the same settings in which they meet new sex partners and may contribute independently to sexual risk. This current study examines the independent effects of patronizing alcohol serving establishments (shebeens) and alcohol use in predicting HIV risk behaviors. Men (n = 981) and women (n = 492) were recruited from inside shebeens and surrounding areas proximal to shebeens in eight separate neighborhoods in a Township in Cape Town, South Africa. Anonymous community surveys measured demographic characteristics, alcohol use, shebeen attendance, and sexual risk behaviors. Comparisons of 1210 (82 %) participants who patronized shebeens in the past month with 263 (18 %) participants who did not patronize shebeens demonstrated higher rates of alcohol use frequency and quantity, more sexual partners, and higher rates of vaginal intercourse without condoms for the patrons. Multiple linear regression analysis found shebeen attendance in the past month predicted greater sexual risk for HIV beyond demographic characteristics and alcohol use. Social influences and environmental factors in shebeens could be contributing to sexual risk behavior independently of alcohol consumption. Further research is needed to understand the environmental factors of shebeens that promote and influence HIV risk behaviors.


South Africa HIV Alcohol use Sexual risk behavior Drinking venues