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Education and risky sex in Africa: Unraveling the link between women’s education and reproductive health behaviors in Kenya
Authors: Amy Adamczyk, Meredith Greif
Source: Social Science Research, Volume 40, Issue 2, March 2011, Pages 654-666, doi:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2010.12.003
Topic(s): Contraception
Family planning
Reproductive health
Sexual behavior
Country: Africa
Published: MAR 2011
Abstract: Abstract Much research attention has been devoted to understanding the relationship between education and riskier sex-related behaviors and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. While in the early 1990s researchers found that increases in education were associated with a higher incidence of HIV/AIDS, this relationship appears to have reversed and better educated people, especially women, appear less likely to engage in riskier sex-related behaviors and have a lower incidence rate of HIV/AIDS. Our study begins to unravel the mechanisms that could explain why women’s educational attainment is associated with safer sex-related behaviors in sub-Saharan Africa. Using data from the 2003 Kenyan Demographic and Health Survey , we examine the potential mediating effects of HIV/AIDS knowledge, family planning discussions, gender empowerment, and husband’s education for explaining the relationship between education and age of first sex, casual sex, multiple sex partners, and condom use. We find that gender empowerment partially explains the relationship between education and age of first sex, and HIV/AIDS knowledge, husband’s education, and family planning discussions partially explain the relationship between education and condom use. We argue that gender inequality and lack of knowledge are likely to play a greater role in explaining the relationship between woman’s education and sex-related behaviors in sub-Saharan Africa than they do in more industrialized nations, where social capital explanations may have more explanatory power. Keywords: Africa; Risky sex; Sexual intercourse; Women; Education; Kenya; HIV/AIDS; Gender; Condoms; Family planning; Knowledge; Sub-Saharan Africa