Global Health Equity

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Globalization and HIV

Recent ethnographic data from sub-Saharan Africa have begun to document young women actively using their sexuality toward the consumption of modern material items, conflicting with more conventional depictions of women as passive victims of gendered power dynamics. Liberalized economies shrink the formal sector, generate economic instability, increase inequality, and simultaneously flood markets with consumer goods and foreign media showcasing Western youth culture. We suggest that urban youth have come to herald “resourcefulness” as a means by which to achieve the pervasive depiction of “modern youth” within the context of economic instability. In this IDRC funded study, we examine the hypothesis that interests in consumption are influencing changes in the sexual behaviour of youth in urban Madagascar (the case) thereby increasing their vulnerability to HIV. Our examination includes both quantitative and qualitative primary data collection and secondary data analysis. In examining the association between consumption and sexual behaviour, we document the magnitude of this association and how it compares to more established associations with sexual behaviour (such as education, poverty, migration, religion).