Community views of inter-generational sex: Findings from focus groups in Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland

CIET Trust Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana.
Psychology Health and Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.26). 10/2010; 15(5):507-14. DOI: 10.1080/13548506.2010.487314
Source: PubMed


Inter-generational sex is an important driver of the AIDS epidemic in Southern Africa, contributing to the high incidence of HIV among young women. We conducted 12 focus group discussions with women aged 15-24 years and 11 with men aged 40-55 years in urban and rural locations in Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland. There was consensus that inter-generational sex is commonplace. The young women were clear they had sex with older men to get money and material goods. In urban sites, they spoke about requirements for a "modern" lifestyle and to keep up with their friends, but in rural sites they also said they needed money for school fees, food and household goods. Young women used disparaging names for the older men and they were well aware of the risk of HIV from inter-generational sex. They believed older men were more risky than younger men: They were more likely to be infected and it was harder to negotiate use of a condom with them. They were willing to take the risk to get what they wanted; some also had a fatalistic attitude. Older men described sexual motivation and blamed young women for seducing them. They believed there was a higher risk of HIV from younger women, because they have more partners and do not insist on using a condom. But this did not deter them from taking the risk. Older men and young women discount the risks of inter-generational sex against short-term benefits. Isolated efforts to increase risk awareness are unlikely to be effective. Making older men aware they are ridiculed by young women may be a promising approach, combined with interventions that give alternatives to young women and increase their self-worth.

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    • "Though young women who engaged in CGS reported the intention to marry their older partners, and a higher degree of emotional investment than has been identified in other studies of CGS, the financial stability that older partners offered was still central to their motivation. Participants' perceptions of the diverse circumstances facilitating CGS, as well as girls' varying degrees of agency, are supported by previous research (Cockcroft et al., 2010; Luke & Kurz, 2002; Nkosana & Rosenthal, 2007). Some studies of transactional sex have shown that receiving money or gifts is not necessarily disempowering but rather for some women is a way to express agency and a validation of their worth to their partner. "
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    ABSTRACT: HIV prevalence among young Tanzanian women is twice that of men, and risk doubles if a partner is ten or more years older. Cross-generational sex (CGS) is typified by transactions, economic asymmetries, power differentials, and inconsistent condom use. By investigating perceptions of CGS in families, schools, and communities, this study explored the role each plays in addressing or condoning CGS and where interventions are needed. Qualitative data were collected in Tanzania's Iringa and Pwani regions after a campaign to reduce CGS. Community leaders suggested key informants and provided household lists used to randomly select participants. Individual interviews were conducted with 20 women (M age = 20.7, SD = 3.1, range = 15 to 26) and 20 men (M age = 37.1, SD = 7.3, range = 30 to 56), focus groups with 15 women (M age = 20.4, SD = 2.9, range = 17 to 25) and 26 men (M age = 39.2, SD = 7.9, range = 30 to 55), and key informant focus groups with 10 women (M age = 47.6, SD = 10, range = 37 to 70) and 16 men (M age = 55.5, SD = 9.5, range = 37 to 67). CGS was viewed as detrimental to girls' education and a financial loss to parents, but barriers, including reluctance to approach parents and older men, prevented community action. Interventions may involve community leaders transcending restrictions on confronting older men and promoting communication between teachers, communities, parents, and young women regarding CGS.
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    • "The unbalanced power relations between older men and younger girls, which provide older men with control over sexual relations, also opens the channel for transmission. Cockcroft et al. (2010) and Longfield et al. (2004), in their studies on inter-generational sex, highlight the fact that younger women have sex with older people mainly for material and economic benefits, while the interest of older men is non-economic. Another factor that could put older people at risk is alcohol use and abuse. "
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    ABSTRACT: Summary It is evident that sexual activity tends to decrease with age. Nonetheless, it is still prevalent enough to be considered a risk factor for the spread of HIV among older people. This paper uses quantitative data for 2053 individuals to examine HIV risk perception and correlates of perceived risk among older people aged 50 years and older living in Nairobi slums. It emerged that a majority of older people did not consider themselves at risk of infection. Of those who felt at risk, a greater proportion sensed only a small chance of contracting HIV. Women cited 'no sexual activity' while men mentioned 'having only one and/or a faithful sexual partner' as the primary reasons for perceiving minimal risk of HIV infection. There were no differences by sex in the basis for perceiving moderate-to-great risk of infection. Religion is a key factor in risk perception with Muslims perceiving higher levels of risk and, conversely, devotees irrespective of faith perceiving lower levels of risk. Older people willing to be tested for HIV had a decreased likelihood of perceived risk compared with those unwilling to be tested. This paper recommends evaluation of older people's perception of risk in order to better inform interventions aimed at minimizing their vulnerability to HIV infection.
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    ABSTRACT: To estimate the prevalence of age-disparate (AD) relationships among young black and coloured adults in Cape Town (South Africa) and determine socio-demographic predictors and individual and relationship characteristics of women in these relationships. A secondary analysis of the Cape Area Panel Study (N = 1960) data was conducted. Descriptive statistics were used to quantify the age-mixing pattern and logistic regression was used to identify significant socio-demographic and behavioural correlates of AD relationships. Prevalence of AD relationships was high in both black (36%) and coloured (28%) women. The average age difference between male respondents and their partners increased with age. Young, black women who spent fewer nights under the same roof in one week, had a deceased parent, and were not currently attending classes were more likely to be in an AD relationship. Reports of sexually-transmitted infection (STI) symptoms in the last month and unprotected sex were more common among women in AD relationships. AD relationships are common among young women in Cape Town. Home and family stability is preventative of young women engaging in AD relationships. Therefore, holistic, societal interventions may reduce AD relationships, which are a risk factor for STIs.
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