Bridewealth and sexual and reproductive practices among women in Harare, Zimbabwe
This paper examines the relationship between bridewealth, socio-demographics, and sexual and reproductive practices among a group of women in Harare, Zimbabwe. The study sample was recruited as part of a six-month safety trial of the diaphragm and a microbicide, between August 2004 and April 2005 in Harare, Zimbabwe. Women underwent two screening visits: first, women completed a demographic and behavioral interviewer-administered questionnaire which included questions on bridewealth; at the second visit, women were offered HIV testing and counseling. Our results included: 417 women were married (currently or in the past) and almost half had had bridewealth negotiated as part of the marriage process. In multivariate analyses, women who were married with bridewealth had more years of education (OR 1.17, 95%CI 1.03-1.32), a higher age of coital debut (OR 1.37, 95%CI 1.09-1.71), and increased likelihood of having ever used male condoms (OR 1.54, 95%CI 1.01-2.37) compared with women who had been married without bridewealth. Bridewealth may be a relevant area of traditional culture to further examine in relation to HIV risk, for its potential association with co-factors that can reduce risk of HIV infection among women in Southern Africa.