Gender and the risk of HIV in North India: couple communication as a protective factor

Shelah S. Bloom, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Kaushalendra K. Singh, Banaras Hindu University
C. M. Suchindran, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Gender factors, such as women’s autonomy and empowerment, are important predictors of reproductive health outcomes in South Asia and of HIV risk in other regions. This study examines the effect of couple communication, as reported by both women and men, on the likelihood of men’s non-marital sexual activity during the past year. A probability sample of 3387 couples living in the North Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal were interviewed in 2002. Logistic regression was used to investigate the influence of couple communication on any non-marital sex and on paid sex during the year that preceded the survey. Results showed that women were much less informed about HIV and its risks than men. Further, the frequency of communication between couples demonstrated a positive, statistically significant relationship (OR=2.13, 95% CI=1.41-3.21) with the likelihood of men engaging in both types of risky sexual behaviour while controlling for known confounders.

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Presented in Session 11: Gender, health and mortality (1)