Women’s Relative Socioeconomic Status and Communication in Sexual Relationships

Felix Muchomba, Columbia University
Christine Chan, Columbia University
Nabila El-Bassel, Columbia University

The socioeconomic status (SES) of women relative to their male sexual partners might influence HIV/STI risk. We examined the association between women’s relative SES and frequency of safer sex communication among 342 heterosexual couples (N = 684) recruited in New York. Respondents were asked about frequency of discussions with their partner about the need to use male condoms, about HIV prevention, and about STI prevention in the previous 90 days. Differences between partners in education, income, employment, housing, and incarceration history were combined using principal components analysis to form an index of women’s relative SES. We assessed associations between women’s relative SES and communication frequency controlling for age, sex, race, ethnicity, education, and relationship type. An increase in a woman’s relative SES score was associated with increased frequency of discussions about male condom use (rate ratio [RR] = 1.15), about HIV prevention (RR=1.25), and about STI prevention (RR=1.29).

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Presented in Session 127: Access to Financial Resources, Gender, and Fertility Behavior