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Exploring gender and cultural factors associated with sexual health communication in The era of HIV/AIDS: Implications for sexual health interventions

Dorah U Ramathuba


Societal orientation places expectations about what it means to be a man and a woman, thus gender has a  powerful influence on sexual behavior. Gender stereotypes of submissive females and powerful males can  hinder communication and encourage risky behavior and increase vulnerability to sexual health threats such as STIs including HIV. Sexual communication within unions is a crucial issue. Many African women face  inequitable sexual relations, the nature of their sexual bond with a partner seem to affect their sexual decision-making. Power inequity, emotional and financial dependence seem to present significant obstacles to sexual decision-making. The study intended to explore and describe the extent culture and gender influences communication relating to sexual health and health seeking behaviours within communities in Thulamela B municipality in Vhembe district, Limpopo Province. A qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual research approach was used. Data was collected by means of in-depth individual interviews and focus group discussions. A purposive sampling method was used to sample thirty participants, seven for interviews and twenty-three for focus group discussions.

Keywords: Culture, gender, sexual communication, sexual health, sexually transmitted infections, HIV and AIDS and HCT.