HIV Risks in Sexual Networks of Heterosexual Men in South Africa

  •  Nonzwakazi P Ntombela    
  •  Tivani P Mashamba-Thompson    
  •  Andile N Mtshali    
  •  Desmond Kuupiel    
  •  Ayesha BM Kharsany    


BACKGROUND: The interaction of HIV risks in sexual networks remains unclear in South Africa. We provide an overview of the dynamics of HIV risks in South African men through a systematic scoping review.

METHODS & ANALYSIS: Literature searches were conducted on seven online databases. Two reviewers independently screened articles against the inclusion criteria and performed a Kappa coefficient test to evaluate the degree of agreement on article selection. Thematic content analysis and a Mixed Method Appraisal Tool version 2018 were used to present the narrative account of the outcomes and to assess the risk of bias on included studies.

RESULTS: Of the 1356 records identified, six studies reported on the dynamics of HIV infection in heterosexual men in sexual networks. All studies that were included were published between 2006 and 2016. The participants were aged 13 years and above and comprised of sero-discordant couples, HIV patients, and male and female in the general population. These studies were conducted in multiple diverse regions including South Africa, Senegal, Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Zambia. Evidence showed that age and sexual partnerships were most commonly identified attributes to either HIV infection and/or transmission risks in men. While other biological and behavioral data were reported, the results were not specific to men.

DISCUSSION: The impact of age and sexual partnerships are poorly understood and the data available limit inferences to South African men. Limited empiric evidence of HIV risk among men impacts on the design, development and tailoring of HIV prevention interventions to alter the trajectory.

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