Economic Status, Transactional Sex, and Risk Behavior in Urban Kenya

Nancy Luke, Brown University

Early in the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, economic status was positively associated with infection. A key explanation was that wealthier men could afford multiple sexual partners, particularly CSWs, and therefore faced greater risk of infection. At present, economic status is generally found to be negatively associated with HIV infection, particularly among women. It is believed that many women are motivated by poverty to engage in transactional sex for receipt of needed financial transfers. The relationship between wealth and HIV infection is less clear for men. On the one hand, wealth may continue to be a risk factor for those who can afford to engage in transactional sex. On the other hand, wealthy men may also have greater incentives to protect themselves from infection than poorer men. Using survey data from urban Kisumu, Kenya, we examine the relationship between men’s wealth, transactional sex, and risk behavior measured by condom use.

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Presented in Session 154: Gender, Sexual Behavior and STDs