Swings of HIV risk in the life cycle: a study of Mexican sexual biographies

Published: August 1, 2008

Swings of HIV risk in the life cycle: a study of Mexican sexual biographies

Background: A new approach to study the risk of HIV infection is the examination of the sexual biography and the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs. The material conditions of sexuality (place of sex, access to condom, etc.), the partner situation (partners seeking, ruptures, simultaneous homo-bi-hetero sexual relationships) and the accumulated sexual experience also influences HIV/AIDS prevention. The identification of specific moments and circumstances that increases the risk is essential to design prevention strategies culturally appropriate.

Methods: In 2006, Mexico conducted a study of sexual biographies in five regions of the country to capture some of the cultural diversity (men, women, MSM; single, in union, separated; rural/urban). 80 in-depth interviews of the sexual life were collected.

Results: The social norm of masculinity drives men to have more partners than women. There is a dominant sexual activity for heterosexual and MSM. The difference is that heterosexual follow this activity with multiple partners jointly with the stable partner of long duration. There are greater risks when young and during work related trips which could derive in a new cycle of partner seeking with increased risks. For MSM, partners tend to be short lived, and with an intense sexual activity of partner seeking during the whole life. Among women, the need to comply with the wife-mother role prevents them from negotiating the sexual conditions during the single period, including protection. In rural areas, while in union, the risk increases during pregnancy, when the partner has sexual activity with sexual workers. In urban areas, they tend have more partners while single, and occasional partners during separation of a stable partner.

Conclusions: Sexual risks are present in the lives of men and women and vary during the life course of the person. Specific campaigns need to be designed that consider the multiple risks of the different life stages.

-Abstract available at link below-

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