Schaefer, R., Gregson, S., Eaton, J.W., et al. AIDS (April 2017), 31:1461–1470, doi:10.1097/QAD.0000000000001506.
This study examined the association between HIV incidence in young women aged 15–24 years and participation in an age-disparate relationship. Data were taken from a population study in Manicaland, Zimbabwe, that conducted six surveys, each three years apart, between 1998 and 2013. The findings indicated that 44.5 percent of 3,082 young women surveyed had a partner who was 5–9 years older, and 20.5 percent had a partner at least 10 years older. HIV prevalence in men over 30 was higher than in younger men, and treatment coverage was lower in men age 30–34 than in older men. The greater the age difference between young women and their partners, the higher the risk of HIV infection was for the woman, especially with a male partner more than 10 years older. Older women and educated young women had fewer age-disparate relationships. Women who were poor, married, or divorced were more likely to have age-disparate relationships. There were no changes in HIV incidence over time, as HIV treatment uptake in men remained relatively low throughout the study. As more men achieve viral suppression through increasing treatment uptake, there may be a reduced incidence of HIV infection in young women in age-disparate relationships over time.