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Exploring partner communication and patterns of sexual networking: qualitative research to improve management of sexually transmitted diseases.

Authors
  • Harrison, A
  • Lurie, M
  • Wilkinson, N
Type
Published Article
Journal
Health transition review : the cultural, social, and behavioural determinants of health
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1997
Volume
7 Suppl 3
Pages
103–107
Identifiers
PMID: 10175971
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

A series of 15 open-ended interviews was conducted among 7 men and 8 women in rural Hlabisa district, KwaZulu/Natal, South Africa, seeking care for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) at Hlabisa district hospital in an attempt to identify constraints to communication among sex partners and prevailing patterns of sexual networking. The men were more likely than women to discuss having multiple partners. However, both men and women believed that they should tell one partner about their STD, most often a steady partner. Study respondents made strong distinctions between regular and casual partners, emphasizing the role of trust in a steady relationship. Men and women were both concerned about telling their partners of their illness, but the women were more often afraid of disclosure while the men were more often embarrassed. Multipartnered sexuality is common in this population and widely accepted for men. While both men and women value regular partnerships as important, existing sexual relationships were highly unstable. Stronger health promotion messages could help to facilitate communication among partners. The patterns of communication and sexual networking observed in this study have major implications for the STD epidemic.

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