Knowledge versus power: determinants to condom use among Haitian women
If a woman in a developing country learns all that she can about HIV/AIDS but lacks the ability to convince her partner to use that knowledge to prevent disease transmission via condom use, is her likelihood of receiving the virus really reduced? Policymakers and practitioners dispute the relative effects on HIV risk behavior of HIV/AIDS knowledge and interpersonal power. To identify entry points for HIV/AIDS interventions aimed at reducing high-risk behaviors among Haitian women, this study uses Demographic and Health Survey data collected in Haiti in 2000 to consider four questions: (1) Are women more likely to practice safe sex than are men? (2) Are women more likely to use their HIV/AIDS knowledge to improve their sexual behavior outcomes than are men? (3) Is a woman's interpersonal power a stronger determinant of her behavior than her HIV/AIDS knowledge? (4) Is a woman's interpersonal power channeled primarily through her ability to actualize her contraceptive preference? Results do not support the hypothesis that women are more likely than men to use condoms, nor do they indicate that women use their HIV knowledge more effectively than men. Logistic regressions examining the role of a female's interpersonal power and autonomy show little association to condom use. HIV knowledge is correlated to condom use, suggesting that interventions targeted at increasing knowledge among both men and women may be a more efficient allocation of prevention resources than those targeted at increasing condom use by improving women's interpersonal power.
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