New report shows: alcohol use fuels already unequal power relationship between men and women. This brings about several negative consequences, especially for women.
A report by the University of the Witwatersrand and the Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication shows that South African women consume less alcohol than their male counterparts, but they bear a disproportionate burden of the consequences of alcohol. This is particularly true for women’s risk of contracting HIV.
The report found:
In short, alcohol use fuels an already unequal power relationship between men and women, resulting in several negative outcomes, including HIV and Aids, sexually transmitted infections, teenage pregnancy and sexual assault.
Women often find themselves at the receiving end of men’s alcohol consumption and/or victims of their own structural circumstances.”
Heavy episodic alcohol use is associated with massive alcohol harm, such as unintentional injuries, sexual violence and risk-taking, women are exposed to increased risk of several acute negative outcomes.
The report is analyzing the South African context, but evidence from other African countries shows that women in other African countries are similarly at risk from the harm associated with alcohol use, including gender-based violence and infectious diseases.
A 2010 study conducted in Tanzania, and published in the medical journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases, found that alcohol consumption made women more vulnerable to transactional sex. The study also found that condom failure was five times more likely among women who had consumed alcohol than in those who had not.