Economic Status, Education and Risky Sexual Behavior for Urban Botswana Women

Article excerpt

This study investigated the relationship between economic status, education and risky sexual behavior for urban Botswana women. The data used are a nationally representative sample from the Botswana AIDS Impact Survey conducted in 2004. An un-weighted sample of 2215 women aged 15-49, who have had sexual intercourse was considered for analysis. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses are used to gain insights into the potential linkages between economic status, education and risky sexual behavior. The bivariate analysis shows that there is a significant relationship between dependent variable (number of sexual partners) and economic status. However, with the introduction of controls the significant relationship persisted. The findings also show that the married and the living together had a significantly higher chance of having more than one sexual partner compared to the Not married. However, with the introduction of controls the significant relationship that existed between economic status and having had sexual intercourse in exchange for money/girls disappeared. Moreover, women who believed that an HIV mother can avoid transmission to the baby appeared to have a significantly higher chance of having sexual intercourse in exchange for money/gifts than those who did not believe that an HIV mother can avoid transmission to the baby. Lastly this study revealed that inconsistent condom use is neither a function of economic status nor education, as well as the following socioeconomic environments; age, marital status, religion and awareness/knowledge on avoiding HIV transmission from a mother to a baby. The results of the study, shows that economic status only influences the number of sexual partners and having sexual intercourse in exchange for money/gifts.

Keywords: Botswana; Economic Status; Education; Risky-Sexual Behavior; AIDS-Risk-Behavior; AIDS-Preventive-Behavior; Multivariate Analysis; AIDS Impact Survey.

Introduction

In this study we investigate the relationship between economic status, education and risky sexual behavior for urban Botswana women. That is whether a woman with no education, primary, secondary and higher education and with an economically better off, worse off and the same economic status with their sexual partner; had more than one sexual partner; had sexual intercourse in exchange for money or gifts, and use condom inconsistently. To prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies among urban females the following factors are examined: (a) having more than one sexual partner, (b) having had sexual intercourse in exchange for money or gifts, and (c) inconsistent condom use. The reason why only these three responses were selected is because other important variables like; having sexual intercourse under the influence of alcohol, having ten year older sexual partners, among others, had almost all variables missing and there was going to be nothing to analyze and interpret.

Risky sexual behavior displayed by both males and females in sub-Saharan African counties have been identified as the main factors contributing to the increase in the spread of HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies. Such behavior among others include; having more than one sexual partner, inconsistent condom use, having sexual intercourse under the influence of alcohol, having older sexual partners, inability to negotiate safe sex with partners and many others. Economic factors like poverty have been found to be influential in the engagement of women in transactional sex for the simple reason of getting money, gifts or any gift that would help them earn a living. Women are the most hit by poverty the world around.

Poverty and HIV infection are deeply intertwined. As the burden of caring for the sick, the dying and the orphaned forces millions of African women deeper into poverty and batters their energy and self-esteem, so it increases the pressure to resort to high risk "transactional" sex- sex in exchange for money or goods- or sex with older "sugar daddies" who offer the illusion of material security. …