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J Biosoc Sci. 2014 Jan;46(1):90-106. doi: 10.1017/S0021932013000151. Epub 2013 Mar 21.

Negotiation for safer sex among married women in Cambodia: the role of women's autonomy.

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  • 1* Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.


Negotiating safer sex among married women has been identified as an important determinant of vulnerability or resilience to new HIV infections. Using the Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey data of 2010, this paper examined negotiation for safer sex among 11,218 married women in the context of Cambodia's highly touted reduction in HIV/AIDS prevalence. The results from a complementary log-log regression model indicate that wealthier and highly educated married women were more likely to report that they can refuse sexual intercourse and ask their husbands to use a condom. Interestingly, while women who were fully involved in decision-making on their own health care were 19% more likely to refuse sex, they were 14% less likely to be able to ask their husbands to use a condom, compared with their counterparts who were not involved in this decision-making. Women who were partially involved in decision-making on family visits were 17% less likely to be able to ask their husbands to use a condom compared with those who were not involved. In this context, involvement in decision-making may have translated into trust and risk compensation. Those who believed in HIV transmission myths were less likely to negotiate safer sex relative to their counterparts who did not hold such myths to be true. Women's ability to negotiate for safer sex is, therefore, a function of their autonomy in terms of their full participation in decision-making in health care, household expenditure and mobility. Policy implications of the capacity of women to negotiate for safer sex are delineated.

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