Women’s Empowerment and HIV Prevention in Rural Malawi
Condom use and communication among sexual partners are important strategies for HIV prevention. Using a panel data set of more than 1,200 married women in rural Malawi from 1998-2008, this paper shows that adequate HIV prevention strategies, i.e. condom use within marriage and HIV-related spousal communication, are more widely used as women's bargaining power increases. I focus on different dimensions of women’s empowerment, namely personal and interpersonal empowerment. Among the proxies used for women's empowerment, own income, knowledge of other local languages and awareness of exit options from marriage are found to play a particularly important role in promoting adequate preventive behaviors. The main findings continue to hold after individual-specific fixed effects and time dummies are included in order to account for unobserved hetereogeneity and time trends.
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