Perceptions of why Malawians engage in concurrent sexual partnerships among a select population of radio listeners: findings from an exploratory study
Concurrent sexual partnerships have been identified as a potential driver in the HIV epidemic in Southern Africa. This study utilised an innovative approach to explore perceptions of why Malawians may engage in these relationships, and their suggestions for reducing the practice among a select population of radio listeners. Using radio listener feedback in the form of text messages, we analysed approximately 1 000 text messages sent by individuals who listened to a reality radio programme that included real stories, told by Malawians, on topics related to HIV/AIDS. Listeners suggested that lack of satisfaction with one’s partner was the overarching reason why individuals had concurrent sexual partnerships. Within the context of lack of satisfaction, listeners cited alcohol use, poor communication and gendered norms as factors related to satisfaction. Listeners suggested that couple communication could increase satisfaction, which, in turn, could reduce concurrent sexual partnerships. Prevention efforts should consider how to utilise couple communication to improve satisfaction as an approach to reduce HIV risk in Southern Africa.
Keywords: communication, Malawi, multiple partnerships, prevention