Transactional Sex among Adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa amid the HIV Epidemic

Ann M. Moore, Guttmacher Institute
Ann E. Biddlecom, Guttmacher Institute

Using national survey data collected in 2004 in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi, and Uganda with 12- to 19-year olds and focus group data with this same population, we examine the prevalence of transactional sex (i.e., sex in exchange for money or material goods): how it is experienced by adolescents and its association with their social and economic vulnerability. Receiving something in exchange for sex is very common among sexually active, unmarried female adolescents, but there are no consistent differences by household economic status or age difference between partners. The qualitative data suggest that transactional sex is not necessarily a coercive force and can be a routine aspect of dating and that there is the expectation of females getting something before having sex. Multivariate analyses show either no association or a positive association (in Uganda) between transactional sex and using any contraceptive method, including male condoms.

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Presented in Session 43: Reproductive Health and Potentially Harmful Sexual Practices