Sexual Behavior and STI/HIV Status among Adolescents in Rural Malawi: An Evaluation of the Effect of Interview Mode on Reporting

Barbara S Mensch, Population Council
Paul C Hewett, Population Council
Richard Gregory, Population Council

Our understanding of the dynamics of HIV transmission in developing countries is compromised by unreliable data on sexual behavior. This paper examines whether audio computer assisted self-interviewing (ACASI) produces more accurate data on sexual behavior than face-to-face interviews.. Approximately 500 unmarried females aged 15-21 in rural Malawi were randomized to either a face-to-face or ACASI interview for the sexual behavior questions. Biomarkers collected for STIs and HIV enable us to investigate the association between STI/HIV status and sexual behavior by interview mode. If respondents are averse to revealing risky sexual behavior in face-to-face interviewers, the association between STI status and reported behaviors should be lower than that observed with ACASI, other things being equal. In addition, we will assess the consistency of responses between the main interview and a subsequent interview conducted by nurses prior to the collection of biomarkers.

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Presented in Session 69: Issues Related to Study Design, Data Collection and Analysis in Developing Countries