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Conundrum of Sexual Decision Making in Marital Relationships: Safer-Sex Knowledge, Behavior, and Attitudes of Married Women in Zambia
Authors: Jonathan Anim Amoyaw, Vincent Zubedaar Kuuire, Godfred Odei Boateng, Yvonne Asare-Bediako, and Mengieng Ung
Source: Journal of Sex Research, 52(8):868-77. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2014.996280
Topic(s): Marriage
Sexual behavior
Women's autonomy
Country: Africa
  Zambia
Published: JUL 2015
Abstract: Recent research suggests that Zambian women face an increasing risk of contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) within marital relationships. Married women's perceived ability to negotiate safer sex or adopt self-efficacy practices is recognized as critical in preventing new infections within marriage. Yet women's self-efficacy practices, such as requesting condom use or refusing sex within marriage, are influenced by individual and context-specific factors. Using the 2007 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey data from 4,306 married women, this article examines the association between married women's perceived ability to negotiate safer sex and a range of attitudinal, knowledge, and sociodemographic variables. Results from complementary log-log regression models reveal that married women who have factual knowledge about HIV transmission and prevention, as well as those who have been tested for their HIV serostatus, were more likely to report they can request that their husbands use a condom. Rural married women were more likely to report they can refuse their husbands sex compared to woman in urban areas. Likewise, married women who agree that a wife is justified in refusing her husband sex if he sleeps with other women were more likely to report they can negotiate safer sex compared to women who disagree. These findings suggest that married women are able to negotiate safer sex if they have correct factual knowledge about HIV transmission and are aware of their rights within marital relations.