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Exploring the Relationship between Sexual Power and HIV Risk among Adult Latinas: Secondary Analysis of the Gender Economic Model (GEM) Study.

  • Author(s): Mussenden, Hyacinth Vega
  • Advisor(s): Portillo, Carmen
  • et al.
Abstract

The purpose of this study was to: describe the characteristics at the individual, relationship, and partner-level of Latinas based on their level of sexual power; describe the characteristics at the individual, relationship, and partner-level of Latinas based on their level of HIV risk; and test the relationship between sexual relationship power and HIV risk, controlling for individual, relationship, and partner-level variables. This study was conducted using a sub-sample of adult Latinas from the Gender Economic Model (GEM) study who reported engaging in oral and vaginal sex with a main male partner in the last 6 months. The sample included 134 adult Latinas with an age range of 18 to 67 years, with a mean age of 32.4 years. The largest groups of respondents reported some college education (37.3%). Mean annual income was $25,571. In this sample of Latinas, higher levels of HIV risk were associated with lower levels of sexual power, a relationship status more marked by commitment, and perceiving oneself to be vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In addition, higher levels of sexual power were significantly associated with being in a relationship with a partner that is more committed to the relationship than the respondents. In the final regression model, perceived vulnerability to STIs and relationship status were shown to be significant independent predictors of HIV risk, while sexual power was not. These results suggest that sexual power, relationship status, and perceived vulnerability to STIs are salient factors that must be considered when understanding Latinas' HIV risk, which should be incorporated into nursing clinical assessments. In addition, the salience of relationship commitment in understanding sexual power can inform HIV risk reduction interventions that use gender-based power dynamics in their approach.

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