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Characterizing gender norms and barriers to sexual health in Guatemala

  • Author(s): Lyng, Brittany V.
  • et al.
Abstract

To gain a more complete understanding of the cultural, social, and spiritual influences in the lives of women living in the Lake Atitlan villages as they relate to sexual health, partner violence, and gender norms. The study will contribute to the development of a screening questionnaire and to revision of the clinical protocol for the education of patients about sexually transmitted infection acquisition and prevention in an effort to decrease the rate of primary and repeat infection. This educational protocol can be used as a method of secondary prevention of STIs in the villages surrounding Lake Atitlan. Method: Female patients who presented to clinic with any complaint, who were greater than 16 years old and in a relationship were enrolled in the study. Discussion group sessions with local women provided feedback on cultural appropriateness and feasibility during development of a sexual health behaviors and beliefs questionnaire. The questionnaire was then administered via one-on-one interviews with a Spanish- Kaqchiquel translator present. The questionnaire contained 5 gender norm and sexual health education scales that were subsequently scored for each participant and analyzed for reliability and validity. Results: Contrary to the hypothesis, the vast majority of participants (92.2%) responded to a hypothetical question indicating that they would believe information from the doctor over their spouse. Overall the participants’ scored above 50% on 4 of 5 gender norm scales indicating moderately progressive gender-related attitudes and beliefs. Finally, statistically significant, positive correlation was found between years of education and higher scores on the sexual health education, couple sexual communication, and gender equality scales. Based on the this data analysis and responses during survey content validation we recommend inclusion of the sexual health education, couple sexual communication, and gender equality scores for continued use in the sexual health behaviors and beliefs survey.

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