Transactional sex and HIV incidence in a cohort of young women in the Stepping Stones trial

Rachel Jewkes, Kristin Dunkle, Mzikazi Nduna, and Nwabisa Jama Shai Journal of AIDS and Clinical Research, 2012; Vol. 3, No. 5 Download publication

Transactional sex elevates young women’s risk of HIV infection, independent of partner number or age.

This paper proposes a more complex investigation of transactional sex, often subject to overly simple measures and arbitrary definitions. For example, research tends to conflate material gain and age difference between partners.

The research, conducted in South Africa, showed that women having transactional sex with a casual partner and two or more partners had an elevated risk of HIV acquisition. Those who just had two or more partners or older partners with no transactional relationship did not have an elevated risk of HIV.

The authors argue that these findings support the need for structural interventions in HIV prevention with a stronger focus on reducing transactional sex.

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