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African Journal of AIDS Research

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HIV/AIDS, poverty and risky sexual behaviour in South Africa

Frederik le R Booysen

Abstract


This paper employs data from the 1998 South African Demographic and Health Survey in exploring the nature of socio-economic inequalities in and determinants of risky sexual behaviour. Risky sexual behaviour was associated with poverty only in the case of multiple partnerships. Affluent women that have engaged in risky sexual behaviour were shown to be more likely to have cited negative perceptions about condom use as main reason for not using a condom at last sex. Poor women in turn were more likely to cite lack of knowledge about condoms and abstinence from condom use as main reason. Poverty plays little part in explaining differences in risky sexual behaviour, although higher education in some cases was associated positively with risky sexual behaviour. Risky sexual behaviour was associated with differences in age, urban residence and marital status. Coloured, Asian and White women were less likely than African women to have engaged in risky sexual behaviour. Violence and coercion were also associated with risky sexual behaviour. Women in affluent households that had engaged in risky sexual behaviour were more likely to have been mistreated by a husband or partner compared to poor women. There is no evidence of a definitive one-way causal relationship between poverty, gender and sexual behaviour and further research is required to elucidate this complex relationship.



Keywords: coercion, condom use, gender, violence



African Journal of AIDS Research 2004, 3(1): 57–67



http://dx.doi.org/10.2989/16085900409490319
AJOL African Journals Online