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Older age sexuality in the context of HIV in rural Malawi (WITHDRAWN)

Emily Freeman, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

This paper examines ideas and practices concerning sex among older adults living in rural Malawi in the context of substantial HIV prevalence among adults over 49. Qualitative data were collected from men and women aged over 50 using novel in-depth multiple dependent interviews (n=135). A number of coexisting discourses about sex are identified in which sex at older age was both limited and encouraged. The findings of the work challenge demography’s preoccupation with fertility and chronological age in the collection of sexual health data in Africa by showing that sexual desire and activity do not decline in a linear pattern. The work also highlights some sexual behaviours and understandings that question the relevance of dominant HIV and STI prevention messages for older adults in Malawi. Finally, in identifying a set of complex competing discourses, the study highlights the importance of qualitative approaches to the collection of data on sexual behaviour.

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Presented in Session 116: Anthropological demography and qualitative research