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Men in Malawi: romantic relationships and condom use in Lilongwe

Susan Godlonton, University of Michigan
Rebecca L. Thornton, University of Michigan
Ryoko Sato, University of Michigan

This study examines romantic relationships and sexual behavior among 1700 uncircumcised young males living in urban Malawi. Although they report being sexually active with an average of 1.9 partners in the past 12 months, a high percentage (23 percent) report no longer seeing the woman who they viewed as their most long-term sexual partner. There is also considerably high prevalence of suspected cheating of sexual permanent partners – 70 percent of sample men suspected their partner of having had at least one other partner simultaneously. While increased partnership duration decreased the likelihood of condom use (potentially related to fertility intentions), condom use was not correlated to suspicions of partnership concurrency. Men’s partnerships, both long-lasting and short term, need to be better understood; finding new ways of promoting condom use among long-lasting partnerships is needed particularly in the context in which partners suspect that their partner has other concurrent sexual relationships.

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Presented in Session 49: Male involvement in contraceptive decision-making