Marital Sex Single Greatest HIV Risk For Women Around The World

11 May 2007 – 16:00 PDT – from www.medicalnewstoday.com
For a growing number of women in rural Mexico – and around the world – marital sex represents their single greatest risk for HIV infection. According to a new Mailman School of Public Health Study, because marital infidelity by men is so deeply ingrained across many cultures, existing HIV prevention programs are putting a growing number of women at risk of developing the HIV virus. The findings, indicating that globally, prevention programs that take a “just say no” approach and encourage men to be monogamous are unlikely to be effective, underline the need for programs that make extramarital sex safer, rather than – unrealistically – trying to eradicate it. These findings are published in the June 2007 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The article’s lead author, Jennifer S. Hirsch, PhD, associate professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, is principal investigator on a large comparative study showing that the inevitability of men’s infidelity in marriage is true across cultures. This was borne out in the research conducted in rural Mexico as well as in similar studies she is overseeing in rural New Guinea and southeastern Nigeria, which are published in the same issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Two additional studies underway, in Uganda and Vietnam, are expected to show similar results.

The Mexico study was based on six months of anthropological research, including participant observation, 20 marital case studies, 37 key informant interviews, and document analysis to explore the factors that shape HIV risk among married women in Degollado, one of the Mexico’s rural communities.
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.  Click here for the rest of the story


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