Working to Advance
Health Equity in Africa

Professor Kaymarlin Govender

  • Research Director

Kaymarlin Govender is a research psychologist with an MA from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a DLitt et Phil from the University of South Africa. He was appointed director of research at HEARD in 2011. He began his professional career at the Human Sciences Research Council working on early child development and children in contexts of adversity and later joined the then University of Westville (School of Psychology). He stills holds a partial appointment in School of Psychology, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Kaymarlin’s main research interests include the psychological, social and behavioural issues related to HIV and AIDS. He has a number of publications and commissioned reports related to risk and resiliency issues facing children and, more generally, youth in the context of HIV and AIDS. His recent dedicated area of research is in the field of masculine identities and its implications for risk behaviours. He a research methodologist by training and specializes in quantitative and qualitative research methods including, M&E approaches as well as discourse analysis. He has acted as a research consultant/advisor to a number of bodies (NGOs, research institutions and government) on social and behavioural research and is actively involved in health promotion research/advocacy activities at a local and national level.

Latest Publications

Research outputs

Book contribution

Govender, K. Poku, N. Armstrong, R. George, G. 2020. Epidemiology of HIV Among Adolescents and Young People In Eastern And Southern Region. In Preventing HIV Among Young People in Southern and Eastern Africa: Emerging Evidence and Intervention Strategies. Routledge.

Cowden, R. Tucker, L. Govender, K. 2020. Conceptual pathways to HIV risk in Eastern and Southern Africa: An integrative perspective on the development of young people in contexts of social-structural vulnerability. In Preventing HIV Among Young People in Southern and Eastern Africa: Emerging Evidence and Intervention Strategies. Routledge.

Regondi, I., Govender, K., Naidoo, K., and George, G. 2015, Medical male circumcision and the politics of no alternative: Why the public health imperative scored a victory over tradition. Global HIV/AIDS politics, policy, and activism: Persistent challenges and emerging issues: Policy and policymaking, 2 (-) -, Praeger

Govender, K., and Peterson, I. 2011 Understanding risk and risk behaviour Psychology: an Introduction,Understanding risk and risk behaviour

Regondi, I., Govender, K., Naidoo, K., and George, G. 2012 Medical circumcision and the politics of no alternative: Why the public health imperative scored a victory against HIV/AIDS? Global HIV/AIDS Politics, Policy, and Activism: Persistent Challenges and Emerging Issues, Praeger

Petersen, I., and Govender, K. 2012 Health and health promotion Community Psychology in South Africa, Van Schaik

Edited book

Kaymarlin Govender Nana Poku (2017) Sociology of AIDS John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Journal article

Durevall, D. Cowden, R. Beckett, S. Kharsany, A. Lewis, L. George, G. Cawood, C. Khanyile, D. Govender, K. 2023. Associations of Social Support with Sexual Practices, Health Behaviours, and Health Outcomes among Adolescent Girls and Young Women: Evidence from a Longitudinal Study in KwaZulu‑Natal, South Africa. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Hlophe, S. Stolbrink, M. Govender, K. Mulupi, S. Mbonigaba, J. Masekela, R. Mortimer, K. 2023. Asthma morbidity in Africa: Is it time to act to achieve asthma care for all. Journal of the Pan African Thoracic Society, 4.

Mantell, J. Khalifa, A. Christian, S. Romo, M. Mwai, E. George, G. Strauss, M. Govender, K. Kelvin, E. 2022. Prefences, beliefs, and attitudes about oral fluid and blood-based HIV self-testing among truck drivers in Kenya choosing not to test for HIV. Frontiers in Public Health, 10, 911932.

Govender, K. Nyamaruze, P. McKerrow, N. Meyer-Weitz, A. Cowden, R. 2022. COVID-19 vaccines for children and adolescents in Africa: aligning our priorities to situational realities. BMJ Global Health, 7(2), e007839.

Dzomba, A. Kim, H. Tomita, A. Vandormael, A. Govender, K. Tanser, F. 2022. Predictors of migration in an HIV hyper-endemic rural South African community: evidence from a population-based cohort (2005–2017). BMC Public Health, 22, 1141.

Choonara, S. Govender, K. Mpofu, D. Kapira, A. Humphries, H. 2022. Early and unintended pregnancies threaten triple dividend. The Lancet: Child and Adolescent Health, 6(2), 79-80.

Govender, K. Durevall, D. Cowden, R. Beckett, S. Kharsany, A. Lewis, L. George, G. Cawood, C. Khanyile, D. 2022. Depression symptoms, HIV testing, linkage to ART, and viral suppression among women in a high HIV burden district in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: A cross-sectional household study. Journal of Health Psychology. 27(4): 936–945.

Lewis, L. Kharsany, A. Humphries, H. Maughan-Brown, B. Beckett, S. Govender, K. Cawood, C. Khanyile, D. George, G. 2022. HIV incidence and associated risk factors in adolescent girls and young women in South Africa: A population-based cohort study. Plos One,17(12), e0279289.

Govender, K. Beckett, S. Reddy, T. Cowden, R. Cawood, C. Khanyile, D. Kharsany, A. George, G. Puren, A. 2022. Association of HIV intervention uptake With HIV prevalence in adolescent girls and young women in South Africa. JAMA Network Open. 5(4): e228640.

George, G. Beckett, S. Reddy, T. Govender, K. Cawood, C. Khanyile, D. Kharsany, A The role of schooling and comprehensive sexuality education in reducing HIV and pregnancy among adolescents in South Africa Journal of AIDS, 90(3), 270–275.

Jimu, C. Govender, K. Kanyemba, R. Ngbesso, M. 2021. Experiences of intimate relationships, stigma, social support and treatment adherence among HIV-positive adolescents in Chiredzi district, Zimbabwe. African Journal of AIDS Research, 20 (3), 1-11.

Kelvin, E. George, G. Romo, M. Mantell, J. Mwai, E. Nyaga, E. Odhiambo, J. Govender, K. 2021. The Impact on HIV Testing Over 6 Months When Free Oral HIV Self-Test Kits Were Available to Truck Drivers in Kenya: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Frontiers in Public Health, 9, 1-8.

Byaruhanga, R. Andersson, L. Govender, K. 2021. Hegemonic masculinity and risky sexual behaviours in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. African Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities Research, 4(1),1-17.

Govender, K. Cowden, R. Nyamaruze, P. Armstrong, R. Hatane, L. 2020. Beyond the Disease: Contextualized Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Children and Young People Living in Eastern and Southern Africa. Frontiers in Public Health, 8, 1-9.

Maughan-Brown, B. Venkataramani, A. Kharsany, A. Beckett, S. Govender, K. Lewis, L. Cawood, C. Khanyile, D. George, G. 2020. Recently formed age-disparate partnerships are associated with elevated HIV incidence among young women in South Africa. AIDS, 34(1),1-10.

Höltge, J. Theron, L. Cowden, R. Govender, K. Maximo, S. Carranza, J. Kapoor, B. Tomar, A. van Rensburg, A. Lu, S. Hu, H. 2020. A Cross-Country Network Analysis of Adolescent Resilience. Journal of Adolescent Health, 63 (3),1-8.

Kharsany, A. McKinnon, L. Lewis, L. Cawood, C. Khanyile, D. Maseko, D. Goodman, T. Beckett, S. Govender, K. George, G. Ayalew, K. 2020. Population Prevalence of sexually transmitted infections in a high HIV burden district in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Implications for HIV epidemic control. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 98, 1-8

Renbarger, R. Padgett, R. Cowden, R. Govender, K. Yilmaz, M. Scott, L. Makhnach, A. Novotny, J. Nugent, G. Rosenbaum, L. Křeménková, L. 2020. Culturally Relevant Resilience: A Psychometric Meta‐Analysis of the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM). Journal of Research on Adolescence, 30(4), 1-17.

Christian, S. Mantell, J. Romo, M. Grov, C. George, G. Mwai, E. Nyaga, E. Odhiambo, J. Govender, K.. Kelvin, E. 2020. Applying a social-ecological lens to opinions about HIV self-testing among Kenyan truckers who declined to test: a qualitative study. African Journal of AIDS Research, 19(2), 1-10.

Selepe, M. Lindegger, G. Govender, K. 2020. Discourses in accounts of rape by sex offenders in Limpopo province, South Africa. South African Journal of Psychology, 1–12.

George, G. Cawood, C. Adrian Puren, A. Khanyile, D. Gerritsen, A. Govender, K. Beckett, S. Glenshaw, M. Diallo, K. Ayalew, K. Gibbs, A. Reddy, T. Madurai, L. Kufa-Chakezha, T. Kharsany, A. 2020. Evaluating DREAMS HIV prevention interventions targeting adolescent girls and young women in high HIV prevalence districts in South Africa: protocol for a cross-sectional study. BMC Women's Health, 20(7)

Romo, M.L., George, G., Mantell, J.E., Mwai, E., Nyaga, E., Strauss, M., Odhiambo, J.O., Govender, K., Kelvin, E.A. 2019 Depression and sexual risk behavior among long-distance truck drivers at roadside wellness clinics in Kenya PeerJ 7:e7253 DOI 10.7717/peerj.7253

Govender, K., Cowden, R.G., Asante, K.O. et al. Prev Sci (2019). Sexual Risk Behavior: a Multi-System Model of Risk and Protective Factors in South African Adolescents Prev Sci (2019).

Dzomba, A., Tomita, A., Vandormael, A., Govender, K,. Tanser. Effect of ART scale-up and female migration intensity on risk of HIV acquisition: results from a population-based cohort in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa BMC Public Health 2019 19:196

 Kelvin, EA., George, G., Kinyanjui, S., et al Announcing the availability of oral HIV self-test kits via text message to increase HIV testing among hard-to-reach truckers in Kenya: a randomized controlled trial BMC Public Health201919:7

George, G., Nene, S., Beckett, S., Durevall, D., Lindskog, A., Govender, K. (2019) Greater risk for more money: the economics of negotiating condom use amongst sex workers in South Africa, AIDS Care, 31:9, 1168-1171, DOI: 10.1080/09540121.2018.1563284

Govender, K. et al. (2018) A systematic review of the South African work on the well-being of young people (2000–2016) South African Journal of Psychology

Cowden, R. G., Govender, K., Asante, K. O., Reardon, C., & George, G. (2018). Validation of the Perceived Sense of School Membership Scale: A South African Version. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 36(4), 411–417.

Rurangirwa AA, Mogren I, Ntaganira J, et al Intimate partner violence during pregnancy in relation to non-psychotic mental health disorders in Rwanda: a cross-sectional population-based study BMJ Open 2018;8:e021807. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-021807

Kharsany ABM, Cawood C, Khanyile D, Lewis L, Grobler A, Puren A, Govender K, George G, Beckett S, Samsunder N, Madurai S, Toledo C, Chipeta Z, Glenshaw M, Hersey S, Abdool Karim Q Community-based HIV Prevalence in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Results of a Cross-sectional Household Survey

elvin, E.A., George, G., Mwai, E. et al. AIDS Behav (2018). A Randomized Controlled Trial to Increase HIV Testing Demand Among Female Sex Workers in Kenya Through Announcing the Availability of HIV Self-testing Via Text Message

George, G., Chetty, T., Strauss, M., Inoti, S., et al. (2018) Costing analysis of an SMS-based intervention to promote HIV selftesting amongst truckers and sex workers in Kenya PLoS ONE. 10.1371/journal.pone.0197305

Strauss M., George G., Lansdell E., Mantell JE., Govender K., Romo M., Odhiambo J., Mwai E., Nyaga EN and Kelvin EA (2018) HIV Testing Preferences Among Long Distance Truck Drivers in Kenya: A Discrete Choice Experiment AIDS Care, 30(1), pp72-80, doi: 10.1080/09540121.2017.1367086

Romo, ML., George, G., Mantell, JE., Mwai, E., Nyaga, E., Odhiambo., JO, Govender, K, Kelvin,EA ( 2018) Psychosocial Characteristics of Primary Care-Seeking Long-Distance Truck Drivers in Kenya and Associations with HIV Testing African Journal of AIDS Research,

Dzomba, A., Govender, K., Mashamba-Thompson TP and Tanser, F (2018) Mobility and increased risk of HIV acquisition in South Africa: a mixed-method systematic review protocol Systematic Reviews, 7(37), DOI

George, G., Govender, K., Beckett, S., Montague, C & Frohlich, J (2017) Factors associated with the take-up of voluntary medical male circumcision amongst learners in rural KwaZulu-Natal African Journal of AIDS Research, 16:3, 251-256, DOI: 10.2989/16085906.2017.1369441

Govender, K., George, G., Beckett, S., Montague, C and Frohlich, J (2017) Risk Compensation Following Medical Male Circumcision: Results from a 1-Year Prospective Cohort Study of Young School-Going Men in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, DOI 10.1007/s12529-017-9673-0

Kelvin, EA., George, G., Mwai, E., Nyaga, EN., Mantell, JE., Romo, ML., Odhiambo, JO., Govender, K (2017) Offering Self-administered Oral HIV Testing as a Choice to Truck Drivers in Kenya: Predictors of Uptake and Need for Guidance While Self-testing AIDS and Behaviour, DOI 10.1007/s10461-017-1783-9

Lentoor AG, Asante K, Govender K, Petersen I (2016) Psychological functioning among vertically infected HIV-positive children and their primary caregivers AIDS Care, 28(6), pp771-7, doi: 10.1080/09540121.2015.1124979

Gibbs, A., Govender, K and Jewkes, R (2016) An exploratory analysis of factors associated with depression in a vulnerable group of young people living in informal settlements in South Africa Global Public Health, pp 1-16, doi

George, G., Govender, K., Beckett, S., Montague, C and Frohlich, J (2016) Early resumption of sex following voluntary medical male circumcision amongst school-going males PLoS ONE 11(12): e0168091. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0168091

LA, Tucker and Govender, K (2016) Ethical considerations for research involving boys diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Early Child Development and Care, DOI: 10.1080/03004430.2016.1159203

L, Tucker. Govender, K. 2016. ‘Sticks and stones': masculinities and conflict spaces. Gender and Education.

Toska, E., Gittings, L., Hodes, R., Cluver, LD., Govender,K., Chademana, KE and Gutiérrez, VE (2016) Resourcing resilience: social protection for HIV prevention amongst children and adolescents in Eastern and Southern Africa African Journal of AIDS Research, 15(2), pp123-140, DOI:10.2989/16085906.2016.1194299

Reardon, C., George,G., Mucheuki,C., Govender, K and Quinlan, T (2015) Psychosocial and health risk outcomes among orphans and non-orphans in mixed households in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa African Journal of AIDS Research, 14:4, 323-331, DOI: 10.2989/16085906.2015.1095774

Govender, K., 2011,  The cool, the bad, the ugly, and the powerful: identity struggles in schoolboy peer culture Culture, Health & Sexuality: An International Journal for Research, Intervention and Care, 13 (8), 887-801, Taylor & Francis Online, DOI:10.1080/13691058.2011.586436

Govender, K., Penning, S., George, G and Quinlan, T., 2011, Weighing up the burden of care on caregivers of orphan children: The Amajuba District Child Health and Wellbeing Project, South Africa AIDS Care: Psychological and Socio-medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV, 24 (6), 712-721, Taylor & Francis Online, DOI: 10.1080/09540121.2011.630455

Bhagwanjee, A., Govender, K., Petersen, I., Akintola, O., George, G., Johnstone, L and Naidoo, K, 2011, Patterns of disclosure and antiretroviral treatment adherence in a South African mining workplace programme and implications for HIV prevention African Journal of AIDS Research, 10 (1), 357-368, Taylor & Francis Online, doi: 10.2989/16085906.2011.637737

Mutinta, G., Govender, K., Gow, J. and George, G, 2012 An exploratory study of the individual determinants of students sexual risk behaviour at a South African university African Journal of AIDS Research, 11 (4), 353-359, Taylor & Francis Online, DOI:10.2989/16085906.2012.754836

Dageida, W., Govender, K and Gordon,S.F., 2012 Masculinity and HIV disclosure among heterosexual South African men: implications for HIV/AIDS intervention Culture, Health &Sexuality, 14 (8), 925-940, Taylor & Francis Online, doi: 10.1080/13691058.2012.710337

Reardon, C. and K. Govender, 2013 Masculinities, cultural worldviews and risk perceptions among South African adolescent learners Journal of Risk Research, 16 (6), 753-70, Taylor & Francis Online, DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2012.737823

Gow, J., George, G., and K. Govender, 2013, A comparison of quality of life between HIV positive and negative diamond miners in South Africa SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS: An OpenAcess Journal, 10 (2), 89-95, Taylor & Francis Online, DOI: 10.1080/17290376.2013.870066

George, G., Govender, K., Bachoo, S., Penning, S. and T. Quinlan, 2013 Comparative economic positions of orphan, non-orphan and mixed households: findings from round 3 of the Amajuba District Study in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies: An International Interdisciplinary Journal for Research, Policy and Care, 9 (1), -, Taylor & Francis Online, DOI:10.1080/17450128.2013.772316

Mutinta, G., Govender, K., Gow, J. and G. George, 2013 An investiagtion of students' risky sexual behavouir at KwaZulu-Natal University, Durban, South Africa American Journal of Sexuality Education, 8 (3) , 121-139, London, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/15546128.2013.828339

George, G., Strauss, M., Chirawu, P., Rhodes, B., Frohlich, J., Montague, C., and Govender, K. 2014 Barriers and facilitators to the uptake of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) among adolescent boys in KwaZulu–Natal, South Africa African Journal of AIDS Research, 13 (2), 179-187, Routledge, DOI: 10.2989/16085906.2014.943253

Petersen, I., Hanass-Hancock, J., Bhana, A., and Govender, K. 2014 A group-based counselling intervention for depression co-morbid with HIV/AIDS using a task shifting approaching South Africa: A randomized controlled pilot study Journal of Affective Disorders, 158 (-), 78-84, Elsevier, DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2014.02.013. 

Hanass-Hancock, J., Regondi, I., and Naidoo, K. 2013 Disability and HIV: What drives this relationship in Eastern and Southern Africa? African Journal of Disability, 2(1), AOSIS Open Journals, Doi: 10.4102/ajod.v2i1.25

Mutinta, G., and Govender, K. 2012 The socio-environmental determinants of students’ sexual risk behaviours Journal of Human Ecology, 38(1),pp17-29.

Govender, K., Akintola, O., George, G., Petersen, I., Bhagwanjee, A., and Reardon, C. 2011 Psychosocial and behavioural correlates of attitudes towards antiretroviral therapy (ART) in a sample of South African mineworkers Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS, 8 (2), Taylor & Francis Online

Govender, K., George, G., Mucheuki, C., and Strauss, M. 2014 Voluntary medical male circumcision in South Africa: Challenges and opportunities South African Health Review 2013/14

Bhagwanjee, A., Govender, K., Reardon, C., Johnstone, L., George, G., and S.Gordon. 2013 Gendered constructions of the impact of HIV and AIDS in the context of the HIV-positive seroconcordant heterosexual relationship Journal of the International AIDS Society, 6 (18021)

Petersen, I., Hanass-Hancock, J., Bhana, A., and Govender, K. 2013 Closing the treatment gap for depression co-morbid with HIV in South Africa: Voices of afflicted women Health, 5(3), pp 557-566

Reardon, C and Govender, K, 2011, "Shaping up": The relationship between traditional masculinity, conflict resolution and body image among adolescent boys in South Africa Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies: An International Interdisciplinary Journal for Research, Policy and Care, 6 (1), 78-87, Taylor & Francis Online, DOI: 10.1080/17450128.2011.554578

Journal issues edited

Govender, K and Poku, N (2016) Fast-tracking HIV prevention: scientific advances and implementation challenges African Journal of AIDS Research, 15(2), pp 3-8, DOI: 10.2989/16085906.2016.1208944