Research Triangle Park, NC: FHI, 1995. 85 p.
Family health international working papers, no. WP95-04
As the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Haiti accelerates, HIV sero-prevalence studies report increasing risk among women in the general population. In a national AIDS KAPB study in 1989, women reported fewer multiple-partner relationships than did male respondents and were reasonably well informed on AIDS prevention, yet they expressed significant fear of acquiring the disease. These and other studies suggest that Haitian women's capacity to negotiate safe sexual behavior, including the use of condoms, may be related less to their knowledge of the disease than to their customary role in the sexual relationship. This qualitative study used the focus group method to explore perceptions concerning norms that govern sexual decision-making and behavior associated with the risk of HIV transmission to women. The emphasis is primarily on the role of women in the sexual relationship, particularly with respect to their potential for initiating behavior change, and secondarily on the perspectives of men on issues which determine women's rights to protect themselves. Trained moderators conducted discussions with twelve groups of women and six groups of men at research sites in Port-au-Prince and Les Cayes. A loosely structured discussion guide focused on (1) knowledge of HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention, (2) sense of personal vulnerability, (3) perceived consequences of AIDS, (4) household decision-making, (5) sexual decisions and women's rights, (6) communication with sexual partners about behavior change, (7) discussion of AIDS with other women, and (8) counseling adolescents about HIY/AIDS prevention.
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