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Hunger leads to sexual risk taking in Africa.

Women in Africa who don't have enough to eat take more sexual risks, according to a study published recently in PLoS Medicine.

According to the authors of this study, their results suggest that targeting food security could help to reduce the risk of HIV transmission in Africa.

The study, which took place in Bostwana and Swaziland, found that women who reported food insecurity in the previous year had an 80% increase in their likelihood of transactional sex, a 70% increase in their risk of reporting unprotected sex with a non-primary partner, and a 50% increase in their likelihood of intergenerational sex.

The study took place between 2004 and 2005 and involved 1 050 women and 999 men in Botswana and Swaziland. Food insecurity was defined as reporting not having enough food to eat in the previous 12 months and was more common among women than among men.

The risky sexual behaviours examined were inconsistent condom use with a non-primary partner, transactional sex, intergenerational sex (a partner 10 years older or younger), lack of control in a sexual relationship and forced sex. Individuals were also asked about their alcohol consumption.

Weiser SD, et al. PLoS Med 4(10): e260 doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040260
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Title Annotation:AIDS Briefs
Author:Farham, Bridget
Publication:CME: Your SA Journal of CPD
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:Feb 1, 2008
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