Sexual practices and STI/HIV risky behaviors and prevention among men and women in Soweto, South Africa
Presentation at 2nd Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights, Nairobi, 19-21 June
Ditlopo,Prudence; Mullick,Saiqa; Levin,Jonathan; Chege,Jane; Peacock,Dean; Raletsemo,Rabbuh; Sibeko,Sgidi
Publication date: 2006
Background and Objectives
EngenderHealth and Hope Worldwide are implementing the Men as Partners program (MAP) in selected sites in Soweto. MAP program is a global initiative designed to work with men on HIV/AIDS and reproductive health issues. The program involves running workshops with men, training male peer educators, and raising community awareness around issues such as reproductive health, gender-based violence, and HIV/AIDS. As part of the project, FRONTIERS has designed a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the activities in reducing risky STI and HIV behaviors.
A community baseline study was conducted in 32 sites (16 control and 16 intervention) in Soweto. A total of 2,578 male and female respondents between the ages of 15 and 34 were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. SPSS and STATA were used to analyze data.
It was found that a high proportion of the respondents from both intervention and control sites (>77 percent) were sexually active. Just over 60 percent of the male respondents reported that they had only one sexual partner in the past six months compared to over 80 percent of the female respondents in the two sites. Condom use with regular and nonregular partners was relatively high among men and women from both sites. However, consistency in condom use with nonregular partners is still a challenge, particularly for women in both control and intervention sites (58 percent and 55 percent, respectively). The majority of both male and females respondents from the two sites (95 percent of males and 90 percent of females) reported that they had not experienced any symptoms related to sexually transmitted infections in the last three months. Of those who had symptoms, most sought treatment at the clinic. With regard to HIV testing, only a third of men indicated that they had ever done an HIV test as compared to more than half of the women. Of those who had ever tested, an overwhelming majority (84 percent of males and 85 percent of females) in both sites discussed results with the partner. Regarding partner communication in relationships, there seems to be a high level of partner discussion on sex, methods of contraception to prevent pregnancy, as well as methods of HIV protection in the two study sites. However, there is less communication among partners, particularly men (43 percent in the control group and 39 percent in the intervention) about having HIV testing.
The majority of the respondents reported that they had one partner. Condom use was high among respondents; however, consistency is still a challenge, particularly for women. HIV testing was very low for men. MAP intervention should encourage condom consistency mainly for women and voluntary counseling and testing for respondents.