The Influence of Women's Empowerment on Treatment-Seeking Behavior for Sexually Transmitted Infections in Rural India: Implications for HIV Prevention

Avni Amin, Center for Health and Gender Equity

Addressing treatment-seeking behavior for STI is essential for HIV prevention. In India, there is a high prevalence of STI and a rapid increase in HIV prevalence among women. This study examines the role of women's empowerment in treatment seeking for STI symptoms in rural India. The analysis is based on a survey conducted in 4 villages in Gujarat among all ever-married women 15-49 years reporting one or more of 7 STI symptoms. The sample size is 256 representing 45% of 573 women who were surveyed. Logistic regression was conducted with three outcomes: symptom communication, any treatment sought outside the household, and allopathic treatment. The findings indicate that large emotional support networks, lower marital inequality, and participation in household financial decisions are significant predictors of at least two outcomes of treatment seeking. The findings make a compelling argument for increasing male involvement, women's social capital and access to economic resources, and reducing gender-based violence in HIV/AIDS programs

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Presented in Session 107: Gender and HIV/AIDS