Risk-Taking Behaviors That Place Women At Risk for HIV Across Cultures
Fray, Beverly Mae
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Session presented on Saturday, July 23, 2016 and Sunday, July 24, 2016: The purposeof this poster presentation is to raise awareness among conference attendees that culture intersects with sexual practices all over the world, regardless of language. Second, it attempts to demonstrate that in the majority of cultures across the globe, gender, socioeconomic power dynamics, and social hierarchical structures invariably place women at higher risk for HIV and other STIs when compared to men. Culture and Risk-taking Behaviors among Women: A thorough review of the nursing, public health, anthropology and psychology literature revealed that culture plays a significant and complex role in the sexual practices of peoples across the globe. It also highlights some of the contemporary theoretical frameworks utilized to explain such behaviors and sexual practices. The majority of such practices were found to be related to gender, religion, economics, politics and social role expectations. Procedure: The literature search was limited to peer reviewed articles related to sexual practices across cultures from 1975-2015. Databases searched included AIDSInfo, the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL), Google Scholar, PsychInfo, and PubMed. Keywords used to facilitate the search were sexual practices, theory, women, risk-taking behaviors and culture. Results: The search generated 78 articles, 63 were peer reviewed and 41 related to females. Another search to include transgender persons yielded few relevant articles useful in this examination of the phenomenon of interest. This literature review examined sexual risk practices and risk taking behaviors that place people, not only women, at risk for HIV and other STIs in several countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America. Several theories including the Theory of Intersectionality, Social Dominance Theory, Silencing the Self, Theory of Gender and Power, among others, offer plausible explanations for such societal inequities. Conclusion: Culture and sexual practices intersect in a complex web of power dynamics universally to place women at risk for HIV. The majority of cultural practices across the globe are based on gender, poverty and other socioeconomic power indicators; and social hierarchical structures that invariably place women at higher risk for HIV and other STIs when compared to men. There are also several social and political theories that offer reasonable explanations for these inequities that exist among and for women, placing them at risk for HIV and other STIs when compared to men, globally. Religious practices, social obligations, force, arbitrary expectations based on race, gender, ethnicity also feature prominently in these practices.