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Secretive females or swaggering males?: An assessment of the quality of sexual partnership reporting in rural Tanzania

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  • Nnko, Soori
  • Boerma, J.T.J Ties
  • Urassa, Mark
  • Mwaluko, Gabriel
  • Zaba, Basia

Abstract

In population-based surveys on sexual behaviour, men consistently report higher numbers of sexual partners than women, which may be associated with male exaggeration or female under-reporting or with issues related to sampling, such as exclusion of female sex workers. This paper presents an analysis of data collected in the context of a longitudinal study in rural Tanzania, where a sexual partnership module was applied to all participating men and women in the study population. Since the study design included all men and women of reproductive ages and did not involve sampling, these data provide a unique opportunity to compare the consistency of aggregate measures of sexual behaviour between men and women living in the same villages. The analysis shows that non-marital partnerships were common amongst single people of both sexes--around 70% of unmarried men and women report at least one sexual partner in the last year. However, 40% of married men also report having non-marital partners, but only 3% of married women did so. Single women reported about half as many multiple partnerships in the last year as men. Under-reporting of non-marital partnerships was much more common among single women than among married women and men. Furthermore, women were more likely to report longer duration partnerships and partnership with urban men or more educated men than with others. If a woman reports multiple partners, biological data indicate that she is at high risk of contracting HIV. For men, however, there is only a weak association between number of partnerships and the risk of HIV, and it cannot be excluded that men, especially single men, exaggerate the number of sexual partners.

Suggested Citation

  • Nnko, Soori & Boerma, J.T.J Ties & Urassa, Mark & Mwaluko, Gabriel & Zaba, Basia, 2004. "Secretive females or swaggering males?: An assessment of the quality of sexual partnership reporting in rural Tanzania," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 299-310, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:59:y:2004:i:2:p:299-310
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mark Gersovitz, 2011. "Infectious Diseases: Responses to the Security Threat Without Borders," Chapters,in: Security and Development, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Mojola, Sanyu A. & Williams, Jill & Angotti, Nicole & Gómez-Olivé, F. Xavier, 2015. "HIV after 40 in rural South Africa: A life course approach to HIV vulnerability among middle aged and older adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 204-212.
    3. Michelle Poulin, 2010. "Reporting on first sexual experience," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(11), pages 237-288, March.
    4. Stéphane Helleringer & Hans-Peter Kohler & Agnes Chimbiri & Praise Chatonda & James Mkandawire, 2009. "The Likoma Network Study: Context, data collection and initial results," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 21(15), pages 427-468, October.
    5. Pauline M. Leclerc & Michel Garenne, 2007. "Inconsistencies in age profiles of HIV prevalence," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 16(5), pages 121-140, February.
    6. Judith Lammers & Sweder van Wijnbergen & Daan Willebrands, 2011. "Gender Differences, HIV Risk Perception and Condom Use," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-051/2, Tinbergen Institute.
    7. James A. Levinsohn & Taryn Dinkelman & Rolang Majelantle, 2006. "When Knowledge is not Enough: HIV/AIDS Information and Risky Behavior in Botswana," NBER Working Papers 12418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Georges Reniers & Rania Tfaily, 2008. "Polygyny and HIV in Malawi," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(53), pages 1811-1830, October.
    9. Georges Reniers & Benjamin Armbruster & Aaron Lucas, 2015. "Sexual networks, partnership mixing, and the female-to-male ratio of HIV infections in generalized epidemics," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 33(15), pages 425-450, September.
    10. Leigh Johnson & Rob Dorrington & Debbie Bradshaw & Victoria Pillay-Van Wyk & Thomas Rehle, 2009. "Sexual behaviour patterns in South Africa and their association with the spread of HIV: insights from a mathematical model," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 21(11), pages 289-340, September.
    11. Shelley Clark, 2010. "Extra-marital sexual partnerships and male friendships in rural Malawi," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(1), pages 1-28, January.

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