Article

Measuring sexual behaviour in the era of HIV/AIDS: the experience of Demographic and Health Surveys and similar enquiries.

Department of Maternal and Child Health and Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27516, USA. .
Sexually Transmitted Infections (Impact Factor: 3.08). 01/2005; 80 Suppl 2:ii22-7. DOI: 10.1136/sti.2004.011650
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To review the sexual behaviour data collected in the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and other similar national surveys from the perspective of data quality.
Two indicators of premarital and higher risk sexual behaviour were analysed for 31 surveys in 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. The analysis focused on the internal consistency of trends and gender differences in the reported indicators.
The authors found fluctuating trends in premarital sex in sub-Saharan Africa but consistent increases in Latin America and the Caribbean. Changes in questionnaire design do not seem to contribute to these trends and there is evidence that the increase in premarital sex is genuine in Latin America. Trends in sex with non-spousal, non-cohabiting partners show large fluctuations and inconsistencies between surveys in some countries but not others. Men are consistently more likely to report non-marital sexual partners than women and unmarried women are less likely than unmarried men to report casual partners.
Surveys are potentially a valuable source of information on sexual behaviour but there are sufficient grounds for concern to warrant considerable caution in the use of survey data to monitor trends in sexual behaviour. Survey findings must be evaluated carefully and interpreted in the context of other available information. These results caution against placing heavy emphasis on short term changes in sexual behaviour between individual surveys and highlight the need for attention to quality in data collection.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Siân L Curtis, Jul 07, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
120 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Using data from the Demographic and Health Survey, this article analyses the relationship between HIV status and the socio‐economic and demographic characteristics of adults in Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. It constructs the risk profile of the average adult, computes the values of age, education and wealth where the estimated probability of infection assumes its highest value, and determines the percentage of adults for whom these three factors are positively correlated with that probability. It finds that in all four countries: (i) the probability of being HIV‐positive is higher for women than for men; (ii) the likelihood of infection is higher for urban than for rural residents; and (iii) there is an inverted‐U relationship between age and HIV status. Also that, unlike gender, rural/urban residence and age, the relationship between the probability of infection and wealth, education and marital status varies by country. The results provide support for country‐specific and more targeted HIV policies and programmes.
    Development Policy Review 05/2012; 30(3):305-326. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-7679.2012.00578.x · 1.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Youth who engage in early and premarital sex are at risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Most prevention programs ignore the mediating influence of the threat and experience of violence on these outcomes. Using nationally representative data from Lesotho, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, multivariate analyses examined the association between individual- and community-level tolerance of spouse abuse on the age and circumstances of sexual debut among female youth. The youth sample sizes ranged from a high of 5007 in Malawi to a low of 3050 in Lesotho. In the study countries, there were between 521 and 367 communities included in the analysis. Youth who approved of spouse abuse were more likely to have sexually debuted at each age. In Kenya, youth from communities with high female spouse abuse tolerance were more likely to have initiated sex at each age. In Malawi and Zimbabwe, youth from high tolerance communities were less likely to have sexually debuted at each age or to have had premarital sex; the same effect on premarital sex was found for men's tolerance in Kenya and Tanzania. Programs are needed to reduce violence risk and increase youth negotiating power and delayed sexual debut, with the objective of reducing young people's risk of negative outcomes.
    AIDS Care 09/2011; 24(3):291-300. DOI:10.1080/09540121.2011.608784 · 1.60 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Most survey data on sexual activities are obtained via face-to-face interviews, which are prone to misreporting of socially unacceptable behaviors. Demographers have developed various private response methods to minimize social desirability bias and improve the quality of reporting; however, these methods often limit the complexity of information collected. We designed a life history calendar-the Relationship History Calendar (RHC)-to increase the scope of data collected on sexual relationships and behavior while enhancing their quality. The RHC records detailed, 10-year retrospective information on sexual relationship histories. The structure and interview procedure draw on qualitative techniques, which could reduce social desirability bias. We compare the quality of data collected with the RHC with a standard face-to-face survey instrument through a field experiment conducted among 1,275 youth in Kisumu, Kenya. The results suggest that the RHC reduces social desirability bias and improves reporting on multiple measures, including higher rates of abstinence among males and multiple recent sexual partnerships among females. The RHC fosters higher levels of rapport and respondent enjoyment, which appear to be the mechanisms through which social desirability bias is minimized. The RHC is an excellent alternative to private response methods and could potentially be adapted for large-scale surveys.
    Demography 08/2011; 48(3):1151-76. DOI:10.1007/s13524-011-0051-2 · 1.93 Impact Factor