Gender dynamics and sexual norms among youth in Mali in the context of HIV/AIDS prevention.

Institute for Health and Social Policy - McGill University, 1130 Pine Avenue West, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3A 1A3.
African Journal of Reproductive Health 01/2009; 12(3):173-84.
Source: PubMed


Socially constructed ideas of gender norms and values attached to sexuality need to be considered when aiming to build the young people's capacity to adopt HIV preventive behaviours. We conducted ten focus groups and sixteen individual interviews to explore sexual norms among youth in Bamako. Premarital sex, multiple partnering, condom use and transactional sex were discussed. The findings suggest that young people's sexual norms are shaped by kin or authoritative elders as well as by external influences coming from Western culture. Sexual norms are differentially constructed by men and women and are in contradiction with those of older generations. Views on premarital sex, condom use and transactional sex generated controversy among men and women, as well as among more sexually conservative or progressive youth. However, there was general rejection of multiple partnerships. Empowering youth to pursue open debates on sexuality may be an avenue for HIV/AIDS prevention in Mali.

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    • "Other research examining the health behaviours of young people in Mali has attributed influence particularly to the impact of Malian society and culture. Specifically the role and relationships with elder members of the family and community in shaping the behavioural norms.5–7 "
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    ABSTRACT: To provide further understanding and discussion on the influences on smoking in young people in Mali. A generic qualitative methodological approach was used following Caelli's generic principles. Six focus group discussions were conducted with a total of 31 participants followed by two semi-structured interviews. A reflexive account was kept to record development in the researcher's theoretical position The setting was recreational areas of Bamako, capital city of Mali, West Africa. Participants aged 13-15 years were recruited opportunistically in a recreational area of Bamako. MAINOUTCOME MEASURES: To develop further understanding of the influences of teenage smoking in Mali, West Africa. FIVE MAIN CATEGORIES THAT EXPLAINED INFLUENCES ON YOUTH SMOKING EMERGED: knowledge and awareness of smoking; associations with smoking; influential people; key messages in Malian society; and access to tobacco. The results showed that influences were complex and interwoven, notable gender differences were revealed, and the role of elder members of the community proved decisive in participants' smoking experiences. Participants described vague knowledge of the impact on health of smoking and reported trying smoking from an early age. Often contact with smoking was through elders and being sent to buy and sometimes light cigarettes for them. Associations with smoking were influenced by gender with smoking more desirable for boys than girls. Any approach to preventing smoking initiation in young people requires an understanding of the social influences and pressures on young people. A tobacco control strategy is required to look at all areas of influence on smoking behaviours. Different needs should also account for the differing characteristics and perceptions of specific population groups.
    01/2012; 3(1):2. DOI:10.1258/shorts.2011.011138
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    • "Furthermore, a study carried out in Namibia shows that people consider men having more than one wife as a right and necessity, while multiple sexual partners are part of the tradition [27]. There is a need to understand socially constructed ideas of gender issues as they relate to sexual behaviour [28] which may help to find solutions for prevention and for the care of PLWHA. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although there are an increasing number of studies on HIV-related stigma in Nigeria, very little research has focused on how power differences based on gender perpetuate the stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and how these gender differences affect the care that PLWHA receive in health care institutions. We explore gender-related beliefs and reactions of society, including health care professionals (HCPs), with regard to PLWHA, using Connell's theoretical framework of gender and power (1987). With Connell's structural theory of gender and power (financial inequality, authority and structure of social norms), we can describe gender differences in stigmatization of PLWHA. We conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews, lasting 60 to 90 minutes, with 100 persons (40 members of the general public, 40 HCPs and 20 PLWHA) in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim. The Nvivo 7 computer package was used to analyze the data. There are similarities and differences between the general public and HCPs towards PLWHA in gender-related beliefs and reactions. For instance, although association with promiscuity and power differences were commonly acknowledged in the different groups, there are differences in how these reactions are shown; such as HCPs asking the female PLWHA to inform their partners to ensure payment of hospital bills. Women with HIV/AIDS in particular are therefore in a disadvantaged position with regard to the care they receive. Despite the fact that men and women with HIV/AIDS suffer the same illness, clear disparities are apparent in the negative reaction women and men living with HIV/AIDS experience in society. We show that women's generally low status in society contributes to the extreme negative reactions to which female PLWHA are subject. The government should create policies aimed at reducing the power differences in family, society and health care systems, which would be important to decrease the gender-related differences in stigma experienced by PLWHA. Interventions should be directed at the prevailing societal norms through appropriate legislation and advocacy at grassroots level with the support of men to counter laws that put women in a disadvantaged position. Furthermore, development of a policy that encourages equality in access to health care for all patients with HIV/AIDS by applying the same conditions to both men and women in health care institutions is recommended. There is a need to protect women's rights through implementing support policies, including paying attention to gender in the training of HCPs.
    BMC Public Health 06/2010; 10:334. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-10-334 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives During the 2008 HIV prevalence survey carried out in the general population of Cotonou, Benin, face-to-face interviews (FTFI) were used to assess risky behaviours for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI). We compared sexual behaviours reported in FTFI with those reported in polling booth surveys (PBS) carried out in parallel in an independent random sample of the same population. Methods In PBS, respondents grouped by gender and marital status answered simple questions by putting tokens with question numbers in a green box (affirmative answers) or a red box (negative answers). Both boxes were placed inside a private booth. For each group and question, data were gathered together by type of answer. The structured and gender-specific FTFI guided by trained interviewers included all questions asked during PBS. Pearson χ2 or Fisher's exact test was used to compare FTFI and PBS according to affirmative answers. Results Overall, respondents reported more stigmatised behaviours in PBS than in FTFI: the proportions of married women and men who reported ever having had commercial sex were 17.4% and 41.6% in PBS versus 1.8% and 19.6% in FTFI, respectively. The corresponding proportions among unmarried women and men were 16.1% and 25.5% in PBS versus 3.9% and 13.0% in FTFI, respectively. The proportion of married women who reported having had extramarital sex since marriage was 23.6% in PBS versus 4.6% in FTFI. Conclusions PBS are suitable to monitor reliable HIV/STI risk behaviours. Their use should be expanded in behavioural surveillance.
    Sexually transmitted infections 05/2013; 89(7). DOI:10.1136/sextrans-2012-050884 · 3.40 Impact Factor
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