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Coping with fears: women’s personal networks, migration, and HIV/AIDS in Mozambique

Winfred A. Avogo, Illinois State University
Victor Agadjanian, Arizona State University

Understanding social networks as a determinant of health behavior has been a major preoccupation of sociological research. Research also points to men’s labor migration as a barrier to HIV/AIDS prevention. Yet little research has considered the structure of personal networks and the content of communication about HIV/AIDS of women who stay behind. Using data from a 2006 survey of 1,680 women and their dyadic interactions in southern Mozambique, we find that migrants’ wives were more likely to have fellow migrants’ wives as close network members, they were also more likely to engage in HIV/AIDS communication and to discuss prevention but they were no more likely to talk about AIDS with migrants’ wives than with non-migrants’ wives. Probing the content of communication and HIV prevention behavior, we detect that network members’ prevention behavior was similar to ego’s. We interpret our findings in the context of the literature on social networks and health.

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Presented in Session 93: Behavioral responses to HIV/AIDS