LSTM Home > LSTM Research > LSTM Online Archive

Transactional sex and HIV: understanding the gendered structural drivers of HIV in fishing communities in Southern Malawi

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

MacPherson, Eleanor, Sadalaki, John, Njoloma, Macdonald, Nyongopa, Victoria, Nkhwazi, Lawrence, Mwapasa, Victor, Lalloo, David ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7680-2200, Desmond, Nicola ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2874-8569, Seeley, Janet and Theobald, Sally ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9053-211X (2012) 'Transactional sex and HIV: understanding the gendered structural drivers of HIV in fishing communities in Southern Malawi'. Journal of the International AIDS Society, Vol 15(S1), Issue 1736.

[img]
Preview
Text
17364-1682-2-PB.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (538kB)

Abstract

Background: In Southern Malawi, the fishing industry is highly gendered, with men carrying out the fishing and women processing, drying and selling the fish. Research has shown that individuals living in fishing communities in low-income countries are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection. One of the key drivers of HIV in fishing communities is transactional sex. In the fishing industry this takes the form of ‘‘fish-for-sex’’ networks where female fish traders exchange sex with fishermen for access to or more favourable prices of fish. By controlling the means of production, the power dynamics in these exchanges favour men and can make it more difficult for women to negotiate safe sex. Methods: Qualitative methods were used to collect data on gendered drivers of transactional sex in the fishing community and how different groups perceive HIV risk in these transactions. Observation, focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews were undertaken with members of the fishing communities, including men and women directly and indirectly involved in fishing. Results: In fishing communities transactional sex was prevalent across a spectrum ranging from gift giving within relationships, to sex for fish exchanges, to sex worker encounters. Power differences between couples in transactional sexual encounters shape individual’s abilities to negotiate condom use (with women being at a particularly disadvantaged negotiating position). The context and motivations for transactional sex varied and was mediated by economic need and social position both of men and women. Female fish traders new to the industry and boat crew members who travelled for work and experienced difficult living conditions often engaged in transactional sex. Conclusion: Transactional sex is common in Malawian fishing communities, with women particularly vulnerable in negotiations because of existing gendered power structures. Although knowledge and understanding of the HIV risk associated with transactional sex was common, this did not appear to result in the adoption of risk reduction strategies. This suggests that specially targeted strategies to increase women’s economic empowerment and tackle the structural drivers of women’s HIV risk could be important in fishing communities.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WC Communicable Diseases > Sexually Transmitted Diseases > WC 140 Sexually transmitted diseases
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV Infections > WC 503 Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV infections
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV Infections > WC 503.3 Etiology. Transmission
Faculty: Department: Groups (2002 - 2012) > Clinical Group
Groups (2002 - 2012) > International Health Group
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): doi.org/10.7448/IAS.15.3.17364
Depositing User: q Moody
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2013 14:09
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:06
URI: http://archive.lstmed.ac.uk/id/eprint/3348

Statistics

View details

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item