Union Type and Sexual Exclusivity in Nairobi Slums

Megan L. Klein, University of Maryland
F. Nii-Amoo Dodoo, Pennsylvania State University

Western theories suggest marriage is an institution through which sexual regulation can be achieved. However, evidence points to high levels of multiple sexual partnerships among married women in Kenyan slums as a form of sexual capital. The increased funding for promoting sexual exclusivity in AIDS prevention necessitates understanding the determinants of exclusivity in high prevalence areas, especially among the urban poor who may rely on sexual capital for survival. We examine levels of reported sexual exclusivity by marital status, co-residence, and polygyny among other factors. Results suggest marriage increases sexual exclusivity thereby potentially reducing the risk for either partner to acquire HIV. Those who cohabit (OR=11, ref=married/cohabitating) and those with cowives (OR=4) have higher odds of multiple partnerships as do those widowed (OR=17) and divorced/separated (OR=34). Monogamous marriage and co-residing unions appear to have protective effects from HIV transmission in Kenya, insofar as women in these unions report fewer partners.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Fertility Determinants, Family Planning, and Sexual Behavior