132 Annual Meeting Logo - Go to APHA Meeting Page  
APHA Logo - Go to APHA Home Page

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Complicated Roads to HIV: Young women, Poverty, and Romance in Dar es Salaam

Heidi Lary, MHS1, Jessie Mbwambo, MD2, Maligo Katebalila, BA2, Ann McCauley, PhD3, and Suzanne Maman, PhD1. (1) Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 Wolfe Street, E5033, Baltimore, MD 21205, N/A, hlary@jhsph.edu, (2) Department of Psychiatry, Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences, Off United Nations Road, PO Box 65466, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, (3) Population Council, Horizons/ICRW, 4301 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 280, Washington, DC 20008

Background: The connection between HIV/AIDS transmission and poverty has been well established. The context of poverty may lead individuals to engage in high risk behaviors and hence leave them more vulnerable to HIV and other health issues. Young women in contexts such as Tanzania are vulnerable to HIV due to the norms surrounding gender and their sexual relationships and because they are often lacking in economic resources. Reaching an understanding of the economic factors affecting young women’s intimate relationships becomes crucial when creating interventions aimed at curtailing the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews (n=60) and focus group discussions (n=18) with young men and women were carried out and the resulting data was audio-taped, transcribed, translated into English, coded using the Nudist software package, and analyzed. Study participants were recruited from venues within the selected community.

Lessons learned: Young women’s decision to engage in sexual relationships is often driven by their need for material resources. Women speak of these benefits as being the reason for beginning relationships, having sexual intercourse, and sustaining sexual relationships. The idea of engaging in relationships with men was reinforced by women’s family and peers. Young men are aware of this and take advantage of this reality when instigating sexual relationships.

Conclusion: Interventions designed to address HIV in a community must take into consideration women’s reasons for engaging in sexual relationships which may involve economic factors. Reaching an understanding of how these factors influence women’s decision about engaging in sexual relationships is important for addressing HIV prevention.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Gender, Women and HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

From Prevention to Care: HIV/AIDS Issues in High Prevalence Countries

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA