Transactional Sex among Youths in Post-conflict Liberia

Authors

  • Katherine A Atwood Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Louisville Center
  • Stephen B Kennedy Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Louisville Center and UL-PIRE Africa Center, HIV/STD Prevention Research Center, A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, University of Liberia, Monrovia
  • Ernlee M Barbu UL-PIRE Africa Center, HIV/STD Prevention Research Center, A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, University of Liberia, Monrovia
  • Wede Nagbe UL-PIRE Africa Center, HIV/STD Prevention Research Center, A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, University of Liberia, Monrovia
  • Wede Seekey UL-PIRE Africa Center, HIV/STD Prevention Research Center, A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, University of Liberia, Monrovia
  • Prince Sirleaf UL-PIRE Africa Center, HIV/STD Prevention Research Center, A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, University of Liberia, Monrovia
  • Oretha Perry UL-PIRE Africa Center, HIV/STD Prevention Research Center, A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, University of Liberia, Monrovia
  • Roland B Martin UL-PIRE Africa Center, HIV/STD Prevention Research Center, A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, University of Liberia, Monrovia
  • Fred Sosu UL-PIRE Africa Center, HIV/STD Prevention Research Center, A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, University of Liberia, Monrovia

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3329/jhpn.v29i2.7853

Keywords:

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, HIV, Sex behaviour, Transactional sex, Youth, Liberia

Abstract

This paper presents findings on sexual risk behaviours of Liberian youths based on five focus-group discussions conducted with 6th and 7th graders (n=36) attending an elementary/middle school in Monrovia, Liberia. The purpose of the focus-group discussions was to gain an understanding of the sexual behaviours of in-school Liberian adolescents. The focus-group discussions were part of a larger study to adapt an evidence- based HIV-prevention intervention—Making Proud Choices!—for in-school youths. Post-conflict conditions were discussed as a contributor to the emergence of high-risk sexual behaviours, including transactional sex, sexual violence, and lack of condom-use. Transactional sex was often described by the focus-group participants as occurring between young females and older, more financially-secure males to obtain cash, food, clothing, western commodities, and school-fees and was often encouraged by parents and promoted by peers. The findings also indicate that female adolescents make choices to engage in transactional sex to gain access to a continuum of material and consumer needs. These findings suggest that individual risk-taking behaviours are nested within complex sexual economies and that HIV-prevention interventions should be considered that leverage females’ agency and control.

Key words: Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; HIV; Sex behaviour; Transactional sex; Youth; Liberia

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3329/jhpn.v29i2.7853

J HEALTH POPUL NUTR 2011 Apr;29(2):113-122

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How to Cite

Atwood, K. A., Kennedy, S. B., Barbu, E. M., Nagbe, W., Seekey, W., Sirleaf, P., Perry, O., Martin, R. B., & Sosu, F. (2011). Transactional Sex among Youths in Post-conflict Liberia. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, 29(2), 113–122. https://doi.org/10.3329/jhpn.v29i2.7853

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Section

Original Papers