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"You stand there with all the responsibility" - impact of the Law of Communicable Diseases Act on sexual behaviour among HIV-positive youth in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-5631OAI: diva2:145211
Available from: 2007-01-03 Created: 2007-01-03 Last updated: 2011-04-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. What's behind sexual risk taking?: exploring the experiences of chlamydia-positive, HIV-positive, and HIV-tested young women and men in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What's behind sexual risk taking?: exploring the experiences of chlamydia-positive, HIV-positive, and HIV-tested young women and men in Sweden
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim was to explore the experiences of sexual risk taking among Chlamydia Trachomatis positive (CT+), HIV positive (HIV+), and HIV tested young women and men. The specific aims were to explore, from a gender perspective, the course of events, the norms, considerations and emotions involved in sexual risk taking in CT+, explore the perception of sexual risk taking in HIV+ youth, and their understanding of why they caught HIV and look at how the Law of Communicable Diseases Act impacts their sexuality. Moreover, to investigate why young adults test for HIV, how they construct the HIV risk, and what implications testing has for them.

42 informants between 17-24 years of age were recruited from a youth clinic in Umeå and from three infection clinics for HIV patients in Sweden.

In depth interviews and focus group interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed according to a Grounded Theory approach.

The finding revealed that behind sexual risk taking, there was a drive to go steady, where lust and trust guided if sex would take place. In one-night stands women were expected to be less forward compared with men. We found an uneven responsibility concerning condom use where men expected women to be "condom promoters". By catching CT, women experienced guilt, while men felt content through knowing "the source of contamination".

Among the HIV+ youth, socio-cultural factors such as; lack of adult supervision, naivité, love, alcohol, drugs, the macho ideal and cultures of silence blinded the informants to the risks and made them vulnerable. By grouping narratives according to degree of consensus in sexual encounters, this demonstrated that sexual risks happened in a context of gendered power relations where the informants had varied agency. The Law of Communicable Diseases Act implied both support and burden for these HIV+ youth. A lot of responsibility was put on them and to be able to handle the infromation duty they tried to switch off lust, switch off the disease, or balance lust and obedience.

Among the HIV tested youth, HIV was seen a distant threat. Many had event-driven reasons for testing for HIV; multiple partners being one. Risk zones, like bars were perceived to be a milieu that often was expected to include one-night stands. Responsibility for testing was a gendered issue; "natural" for women, while men rather escaped from responsibility and had a testing resistance. Receiving a "green card" confirmed healthiness and provided relief, and made the informants felt "clean". They could restart with new ambitious, including reconsidering risk.

The findings can be used in public health and in health care sectors that work with young people. We present suggestions on how to decrease the spread of STIs:

To implement how men could play an equal part in sexual and reproductive health.

Promote general CT screening for men.

Liberal HIV testing among both young women and men.

Promote safer sex behaviour from the uninfected youth, especially focusing on men??.

Consider the role of gender and social background in the context of risky behaviours.

Give lots of positive rewards concerning HIV disclosure to diminish the risk for HIV transmission.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå university, 2006. 106 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1076
youth, sexual risk taking, qualitative methods, gender, agency, Chlamydia trachomatis, HIV and HIV test
National Category
Family Medicine
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-964 (URN)91-7264-235-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-01-26, Sal Betula, 6 M (bv), Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2007-01-03 Created: 2007-01-03 Last updated: 2011-04-08Bibliographically approved

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