Journal of
AIDS and HIV Research

  • Abbreviation: J. AIDS HIV Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2359
  • DOI: 10.5897/JAHR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 288

Full Length Research Paper

Re-marriage decisions among people living with HIV in rural Southern Malawi

Belinda Chimphamba Gombachika
  • Belinda Chimphamba Gombachika
  • Section for International Community Health, Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, P. O. Box 1130 Blindern, 0318 Oslo, NorwayFaculty of Nursing, Kamuzu College of Nursing, University of Malawi, Blantyre Campus, P. O. Box 415, Blantyre, Malawi.
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Heidi Fjeld
  • Heidi Fjeld
  • Section for Medical Anthropology and Medical History, Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, Oslo, P. O. Box 1130 Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Accepted: 18 March 2013
  •  Published: 30 April 2013


This study explores re-marriage decisions of people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in matrilineal Chiradzulu and patrilineal Chikhwawa communities in Malawi. Specifically, it analyzes reasons and circumstances that come into play as they re-consider marriage relationships. Data were collected from July to December, 2010 using in-depth interviews from eighteen informants purposively sampled and was analyzed using content analysis method. Findings show four main issues; irrespective of kinship organization and despite resistance from kin, women decide to re-marry for financial support while men for physical care and emotional support. In the absence of widow inheritance, widows from patrilineal communities are not receiving the expected support from the deceased husband’s relatives leading them to seek support through re-marriage. New marriages in patrilineal communities are supported through traditional marriage formalities. Suggesting that decisions to re-marry are influenced by socio-economic factors. Therefore, we recommend cultural sensitive health programmes embedded in these local realities that accept people living with HIV to re-marry and continue to access prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV and antiretroviral therapy services without reprisal.


Key words: Malawi, decisions, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), reproductive health, kinship, marriage.