The Role of AIDS Awareness on Partnership Formation in Rural Southwest Uganda

Brent Wolff, Medical Research Council, The Gambia
Dorothy Akurut, Medical Research Council, The Gambia
Sam Biraro, Medical Research Council, The Gambia
Heiner Grosskurth, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

We analyze qualitative and quantitative data collected from a rural population cohort in southwestern Uganda to investigate the role of HIV/AIDS awareness on changes in partnership formation. Courtship norms and perceived changes due to AIDS are explored through qualitative focus group data collected from unmarried youth, married youth, and adults between 40 and 50 of both sexes. Using survey data from the 2002-2003 serosurvey of the cohort, we test the hypothesis that rising age at first marriage over the last 20 years is consistent with greater commitment and caution in partnership formation through longer duration and higher likelihood that relationships end in marriage. Multivariate hazard models are employed to test hypotheses on survey data, and findings are triangulated with the qualitative insights from focus groups to make a case for changing age at sex as a response to HIV/AIDS.

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Presented in Session 50: HIV and Reproductive Health Behavior