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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Global Health Action
Title Transactional Sex and HIV Risks-Evidence from a Cross-Sectional National Survey among Young People in Uganda
Volume 8
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL http://www.globalhealthaction.net/index.php/gha/article/view/27249
Background: Transactional sex is associated with the HIV epidemic among young people in Uganda. Few quantitative studies based on nationally representative survey data explored the relationship between sexual behaviors, HIV infection, and transactional sex.

Objective: This study aimed to determine the associations between risky sexual behaviors, participation in transactional sex, and HIV sero-status among men and women aged 15–24 in Uganda.

Design: The study uses data from the Uganda AIDS Indicator Survey, a cross-sectional national HIV serological study conducted in 2011. We analyzed data on 1,516 men and 2,824 women aged 15–24 who had been sexually active in the 12 months preceding the survey. Private, face-to-face interviews were also conducted to record the sociodemographics, sexual history, and experiences of sexual coercion. Logistic regression analysis was performed to measure associations between sexual behaviors and transactional sex, and associations between HIV sero-status and transactional sex.

Results: Among young people who had been sexually active in the 12 months prior to the survey, 5.2% of young men reported paying for sex while 3.7% of young women reported receiving gifts, favors, or money for sex. Lower educational attainment (ORadjusted 3.25, CI 1.10–9.60) and experience of sexual coercion (ORadjusted 2.83, CI 1.07–7.47) were significantly associated with paying for sex among men. Multiple concurrent sexual relationships were significantly associated with paying for sex among young men (ORadjusted 5.60, CI 2.08–14.95) and receiving something for sex among young women (ORadjusted 8.04, CI 2.55–25.37). Paying for sex among young men and having three to five lifetime sexual partners among young women were associated with increased odds of testing positive for HIV.

Conclusions: Transactional sex is associated with sexual coercion and HIV risk behaviors such as multiple concurrent sexual partnerships among young people in Uganda. In addition, transactional sex appears to place young men at increased risk for HIV in Uganda. Both sexes appear equally vulnerable to risks associated with transactional sex, and therefore should be targeted in intervention programs. In addition, strengthening universal education policy and improving school retention programs may be beneficial in reducing risky sexual behaviors and transactional sex.

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