Transactional Sex: What it is and why it matters

Adolescent girls, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, are at high risk of HIV infection. Transactional sex seems to be a factor in shaping their vulnerability. But what is transactional sex exactly? What motivates young women and adolescent girls to engage in this practice? And what can we do to address the HIV risk involved?

Based on research and analysis by the STRIVE research consortium, this 7-minute video explains:

  • a clear definition of transactional sex
  • three sets of motivations that underlie the practice
  • five important considerations for efforts to address the HIV risk involved in transactional sex

The need to improve young women’s HIV prevention is urgent – but it is crucial that intervention design and funding investments be based on evidence rather than assumptions.

STRIVE papers on transactional sex

Revisiting the understanding of “transactional sex” in sub-Saharan Africa: A review and synthesis of the literature

Transactional sex and risk for HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Transactional sex among young women in rural South Africa: prevalence, mediators and association with HIV infection

STRIVE Learning Labs on transactional sex

LL 61: Transactional sex and HIV risk among young women in rural South Africa - Meghna Ranganathan

LL 54: Transactional Sex in Sub-Saharan Africa: Meaning, Measurements and Implications for HIV Prevention - Kirsten Stoebenau and Joyce Wamoyi

LL 42: What do we mean when we say transactional sex? Rebecca Fielding-Miller

LL 25: Situating transactional sex: Comparisons, history and theory - Sanyu Mojola

LL 13: Disaggregating 'transactional sex' from 'sex work' - Holly Prudden

LL 2: Adolescents and transactional sex - Joyce Wamoyi


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