Talking about sex in Malawi: toward a better understanding of interpersonal communication for HIV prevention

Main Article Content

Rupali J. Limaye (1), Rajiv N. Rimal (2*), Glory Mkandawire (3), Peter Roberts (4), William Dothi (5), Jane Brown (6)

1 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, United States.
2 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, United States.
3 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs, Malawi.
4 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs, Malawi.
5 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs, Malawi.
6 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs, United States.
(*) Corresponding Author:
Rajiv N. Rimal
rrimal@jhsph.edu

Abstract

The generalised AIDS epidemic in Malawi presents many challenges. As communication and advice from parents, peers, and partners are important factors in influencing sexual behaviour, understanding communication may provide insights into behaviour change programming. This mixed-method study used a household survey (n=1812) and 15 focus group discussions from the southern districts of Malawi to explore communication about sex and sexuality. Quantitative study findings point to the idea that self-efficacy, perceived benefits, and injunctive norms about talking about condom use are important factors influencing intentions to discuss condom use with partners. Qualitative study findings found that communication regarding sex between parents and children, partners, and peers was not common, and when there was communication, messages about sex focused on negative consequences of sexual activity. In Malawi, there is a need to increase efficacy in talking about sex and protective sexual behaviours, including condom use. Interventions should include components to increase communication skills, shift norms about sexual communication, and provide alternative mechanisms for individuals to gather pertinent information regarding their sexual behaviour.

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How to Cite
Limaye, R., Rimal, R., Mkandawire, G., Roberts, P., Dothi, W., & Brown, J. (2012). Talking about sex in Malawi: toward a better understanding of interpersonal communication for HIV prevention. Journal of Public Health Research, 1(2), e17. https://doi.org/10.4081/jphr.2012.e17
Author Biographies

Rupali J. Limaye, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Department of Health, Behavior and Society

PhD Candidate

Rajiv N. Rimal, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Department of Health, Behavior and Society

Associate Professor

Glory Mkandawire, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs

Chief of Party

Peter Roberts, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs

Communication Advisor

William Dothi, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs

Research & Evaluation Advisor

Jane Brown, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs

Senior Program Officer II