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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. I did it for him, not for me: an exploratory study of factors influencing sexual debut among female university students in Durban, South Africa

    The authors used qualitative interviews to explore influences on first sexual intercourse among 10 young women who had sexual debut within a year of enrolling in the university. University culture of sexual permissiveness and pressure from sexually experienced friends and male partners were the main factors influencing sexual debut. Ambivalence and a range of coercive behaviors characterized first sex. Participants were unprepared for sex and lacked power in deciding the timing and circumstances of first sex, which resulted in physical and emotional pain and regret. …

  2. Gender and sexuality: emerging perspectives from the heterosexual epidemic in South Africa and implications for HIV risk and prevention

    Research shows that gender power inequity in relationships and intimate partner violence places women at enhanced risk of HIV infection. Men who have been violent towards their partners are more likely to have HIV. Men's behaviours show a clustering of violent and risky sexual practices, suggesting important connections. This paper draws on Raewyn Connell's notion of hegemonic masculinity and reflections on emphasized femininities to argue that these sexual, and male violent, practices are rooted in and flow from cultural ideals of gender identities. …

  3. Intimate partner violence, relationship power inequity, and incidence of HIV infection in young women in South Africa: a cohort study

    Cross-sectional studies have shown that intimate partner violence and gender inequity in relationships are associated with increased prevalence of HIV in women. Yet temporal sequence and causality have been questioned, and few HIV prevention programmes address these issues. The article assessed whether intimate partner violence and relationship power inequity increase risk of incident HIV infection in South African women. …

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