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Talking about AIDS

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Author(s): Bühler Christoph | Kohler Hans-Peter

Journal: Demographic Research
ISSN 1435-9871

Volume: Special collection 1;
Start page: 13;
Date: 2003;
Original page

Keywords: AIDS/HIV

ABSTRACT
This paper explores the significance of social relationships to two important stages in the process of sexual behavioral change in response to increased HIV/AIDS risk in rural Africa: the perceived risk of becoming HIV-infected through unprotected sexual intercourse and the preferred methods of protection either through sexual fidelity, or through condom use. The empirical analyses are based on cross-sectional data from the 'Kenyan Diffusion and Ideational Change Project' (KDICP) which provides information about AIDS-related, ego-centered communication networks of Kenyan men and women. The results show that perceived risks, as well as preferred methods of protection against HIV-infection, depend in general on the prevailing perceptions and favored protective methods within personal communication networks. However, different influential network properties can be found. The risk-perceptions of women are shaped by strong relationships and cohesive network structures. Male's risk perception depends more on the number of risk-perceivers in their communication networks. Heterogeneous relationships of various kinds are influential on women's and men's probability of favoring sexual faithfulness as a method of protection against HIV-infection.
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