Young women’s economic empowerment and reduced sexual risk behaviors
Young women in Tanzania are at increased risk of HIV infection. Exploring the social and structural vulnerabilities that put young women at increased risk for HIV is essential to developing prevention strategies to impact infection rates. In efforts to address underlying economic factors that contribute to high rates of transmission, conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs are being piloted for HIV prevention in a number of settings. A recent qualitative research study in Iringa, Tanzania aimed to assess the feasibility of conditional cash transfer programs to reduce sexual risk among young women by conducting in-depth interviews with key stakeholders in the region. I plan to collaborate with the study team to explore the findings from this study with a focus on how access to economic resources may affect young women’s navigation of sexual risk behaviors. I am interested in how economic empowerment from increased income relates to reduction in high-risk sexual behaviors that put young women at risk for HIV. I propose to conduct qualitative data analysis of interview transcripts to explore the themes of economic empowerment and sense of agency associated with financial resources. I plan to explore young women’s perspectives on gendered power relations in sexual encounters to provide insight on the potential that economic empowerment through CCT programs may hold for empowerment in navigating sexual risk behaviors.