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Pedro de Araujo and Margaux Miller
''Women's Health Knowledge, Sexual Empowerment, and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa''
( 2014, Vol. 34 No.3 )
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is one of the greatest challenges facing economic and social development in sub-Saharan Africa. Women of reproductive age (15 - 49) have the greatest risk and prevalence of HIV in this region. Increased female vulnerability to HIV stems from limited access to health care and lack of autonomy to make decisions regarding sexual health and education. Using Demographic and Health Surveys data from seven sub-Saharan African countries, this paper finds important associations between women's own sexual health knowledge, sexual empowerment and HIV status. Women who know more about sexual health knowledge in terms of contraceptive methods, fertility, and menstrual cycles are more likely to report greater control over their sexual lives compared to women with no understanding of sexual health. Also, we find that sexual empowerment is negatively associated with being HIV positive for urban and uneducated women. Hence, this paper indicates a possible direction for future policies aiming at lowering HIV incidence and fostering female autonomy in sub-Saharan Africa.
Keywords: Women's Empowerment, Health Knowledge, HIV/AIDS, Africa
JEL: I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare: General
O1 - Economic Development: General
Manuscript Received : Sep 30 2013 Manuscript Accepted : Aug 20 2014

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