The Effect of Marriage and HIV Status on Condom Use in Rural Malawi

Philip A. Anglewicz, University of Pennsylvania

As the HIV/AIDS epidemic spreads to the general population, a large and increasing proportion of HIV transmissions occur within marriage. Condom use within marriage could, therefore, be an important prevention strategy in sub-Saharan Africa, but there is considerable debate about whether married couples are willing to use condoms. This paper contributes to this debate by identifying key factors that affect the acceptability of condom use within married rural Malawis using three waves of longitudinal data from Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project (MDICP). Specifically, we focus on the effect of (1) first marriage, and (2) HIV status on condom use acceptability within marriage. Using fixed-effects regressions to control for unobserved characteristics that affect condom use acceptability, marriage, and HIV status, we find that getting married leads to lower acceptability of condom use; and that perceived HIV status, rather than actual HIV status, affects the acceptability of condom use within marriage.

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Presented in Session 171: Couple Dynamics and Fertility in Africa