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Spousal communication about the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS in rural Malawi

Author

Listed:
  • FFF1Eliya Msiyaphazi NNN1Zulu

    (African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP))

  • FFF2Gloria NNN2Chepngeno

    (African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC))

Abstract

This paper uses qualitative and quantitative data from married men and women in rural Malawi to examine how they comprehend their risk to HIV/AIDS and what preventive strategies they consider within marriage. Program efforts to promote behavior change have consistently focused on promoting chastity before marriage and fidelity while married or using condoms. These behavioral prescriptions are suitable for extramarital contexts but not within marriage, where the condom is far from being accepted as a suitable preventive tool and spouses face the reality that one’s vulnerability to AIDS is not confined to his/her behavior alone. The survey data show, unsurprisingly, that those who have the most reason for concern (e.g. those worried about contracting the disease) and those who have greater program and informal social contacts are most likely to communicate. The semi-structured interviews show that husbands and wives use subtle and gendered strategies to encourage fidelity; they talk to each other about the consequences of HIV/AIDS on their children’s and their own lives as a prelude for highlighting and justifying joint sexual prudence. These results show that rather than giving up to fate, marital partners are actively challenging and persuading each other to reform sexual behavior to avoid the intrusion of HIV/AIDS into the home.

Suggested Citation

  • FFF1Eliya Msiyaphazi NNN1Zulu & FFF2Gloria NNN2Chepngeno, 2003. "Spousal communication about the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS in rural Malawi," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 1(8), pages 247-278, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:drspec:v:1:y:2003:i:8
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eliya Zulu, 2001. "Ethnic variations in observance and rationale for postpartum sexual abstinence in malawi," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(4), pages 467-479, November.
    2. John C. Caldwell, 2000. "Rethinking the African AIDS Epidemic," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(1), pages 117-135.
    3. F. Dodoo, 1998. "Men matter: Additive and interactive gendered preferences and reproductive behavior in kenya," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 35(2), pages 229-242, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mertens, Frédéric & Saint-Charles, Johanne & Mergler, Donna, 2012. "Social communication network analysis of the role of participatory research in the adoption of new fish consumption behaviors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(4), pages 643-650.
    2. Berit Gerritzen, 2016. "Women's Empowerment and HIV Prevention in Rural Malawi," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(3), pages 1-25, July.
    3. Telalagic, S., 2012. "Domestic Production as a Source of Marital Power: Theory and Evidence from Malawi," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1243, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    4. Gerritzen, Berit C., 2014. "Intra-Household Bargaining Power and HIV Prevention: Empirical Evidence from Married Couples in Rural Malawi," Economics Working Paper Series 1408, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender; HIV/AIDS; Malawi; marriage;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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