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Fishing, HIV and sex: exploring transactional sex and gender based violence in fishing communities in southern Malawi

MacPherson, Eleanor (2012) 'Fishing, HIV and sex: exploring transactional sex and gender based violence in fishing communities in southern Malawi'. Tropical Medicine & International Health, Vol 17, Issue S1, p. 19.

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Abstract

Introduction
MAFESSTA is a combined social science and epidemiological study assessing transmission dynamics of HIV and other STIs in fishing communities in the Mangochi district, southern Malawi. Transactional sex and gender based violence were reported within both social science and epidemiological arms of the study and were followed up in-depth in a separate study.

Methods
Within the context of the MAFESSTA study, we are conducting a qualitative research project to explore drivers and facilitators of transactional sex and violence in two fishing communities. Methods are in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with male and female community members, including sex-workers, and participant observation in study villages.

Results
We found gendered power imbalances in relationships, which means that women are often unable to negotiate safe sex. In fishing communities transactional sex ranges across a spectrum from gift giving within relationships to sex for fish exchanges and sex worker encounters. This in turn shapes condom negotiation.
The context and motive for transactional sex varies: sex work is shaped by poverty, with poor women dominating in local shebeens selling locally brewed beer, while better off women use mobile phones to identify potential clients along the lake shore (for example fishermen with a good catch) and travel accordingly. All sex workers interviewed reported experiences of violence from male clients.

Conclusion
Transactional sex is common in Malawi but takes particular forms in fishing communities, where it appears to be linked with violence. This requires further investigation to empower women and reduce their vulnerability to STIs.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Abstract from Special Issue: Strengthening Research Partnerships for Better Health and Sustainable Development. Abstracts of the Sixth EDCTP Forum. 9-12 October 2011. Addis Ababa, Ethopia.
Subjects: WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 309 Women's health
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
Faculty: Department: Groups (2002 - 2012) > International Health Group
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3156.2011.02994_1.x
Depositing User: Lynn Roberts-Maloney
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2015 12:50
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:08
URI: https://archive.lstmed.ac.uk/id/eprint/4783

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