Differences in Men’s and Women’s Sexual and Romantic Partnerships in Kenya: How Big is the Gender Gap?

Shelley Clark, McGill University
Caroline Kabiru, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)

Young men and women in Kisumu, Kenya experience strikingly different patterns of risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS. These differences are undoubtedly related to differences in partnership formation, disruption, and sexual behaviors within these partnerships. Previous research on men and women have found enormous gaps in young men’s and women’s reported levels of sexual contact, sexual frequency, and condom use; yet they have been unable to identify the source of these differences primarily due to severe data limitations. This paper draws on newly collected and exceptionally rich data containing the ten-year relationship histories of 1629 young men and women interviewed in Kisumu, Kenya during the summer of 2007. These data also contain 311 matched married and unmarried couples. Using these data, we are able to explore differences in men and women’s relationship history experiences, their aspirations and perceptions with respect to these relationships, and their differences in reporting within these relationships.

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Presented in Session 50: Socio-Cultural and Gender Dimensions of Sexual Behavior and STDs