227621 Sick over fashion? Examining the associations between gender, socio-economic status and transactional sex among youth in Madagascar

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 9:30 AM - 9:50 AM

Kirsten Stoebenau, PhD , Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Valerie Rambeloson, MS , Evaluation, Gret Nutrimad, Antananarivo, Madagascar
Rama Nair, PhD, FACE , Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Ronald Labonte, PhD , Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Ghislain Rakotoarison, MS , Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Antananarivo, Antananarivo, Madagascar
Background: The dominant paradigm on gender and HIV vulnerability depicts women as passive victims engaging in transactional “survival” sex for subsistence. Recent ethnographies from southern Africa, however, indicate that some young women actively engage in sex toward the consumption of modern goods.

Methods: This research relies on mixed-methods including focus groups (n=36), in-depth interviews (n=120) and a population-based household survey of young women and men ages 15-24 (n=2255) in two regions of Madagascar. We explored youth's perceptions of modernity, the meaning of sexual and romantic relationships, and transactional sex. Surveys collected data concerning youth respondents' socio-demographics, last month's income and expenditures, material exchanges with sexual/romantic partners, and sexual behavior.

Results: We examine the associations between gender, SES, culture and transactional sex to improve understanding of the determinants of “sex for consumption.” SES variables include youth's education, last month's income and expenditures, and a constructed wealth index. Forms of transactional sex, and their magnitude (consumption/survival/both) will be measured directly (single question to respondents) and indirectly- using variables reporting multiple sexual partners, and specifics on monetary and material exchange with these partners.

Discussion/Conclusion: We will discuss the gendered and cultural components of our findings, and expand on the meaning of transactional sex in the current sub-Saharan African context. Initial results suggest that region of origin remains significant when controlling for SES. In addition, men are not always the providers of money and materials in these relationships, sometimes, they are primarily the recipients. The significance for examination of gender and HIV/AIDS is addressed.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the different paradigms concerning forms of transactional sex, particularly in the sub-Saharan African context. 2) Assess the magnitude of different forms of transactional sex found in two regions of Madagascar among young men and women; and the intersections between these forms with respondents’ SES, gender, and region of origin (culture). 3) Discuss the importance of the gendered and cultural aspects of transactional sex in the sub-Saharan Africa context.

Keywords: Sexual Behavior, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content I am responsible for because I wrote the grant, led the data collection and the analysis and have over 10 years of field experience in sexual health in Madagascar
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 5073.0: Sexual risk in adolescents