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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0102-311XOn-line version ISSN 1678-4464


ALVES, Maria de Fátima Paz. Sexuality and STD/AIDS prevention: social representations by rural men in a county in the Zona da Mata region in Pernambuco, Brazil. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2003, vol.19, suppl.2, pp.S429-S439. ISSN 1678-4464.

This study analyzes the concepts displayed by rural men in the Zona da Mata region in the State of Pernambuco, Brazil, concerning their sexual practices and STD/AIDS prevention. The study adopts a qualitative methodology, having interviewed 22 men According to the interviews, their first sexual intercourse is characterized as a learning experience and is sometimes marked by violence. They make a distinction between the "woman at home" and "street women"; they acknowledge women's sexual desire and value reciprocity in sexual relations, differentiating between the kinds of sex they have with different categories of women. Seven men report homoerotic experiences during adolescence, which they ascribe to immaturity, not affecting their heterosexual identity. Condom use, perceived in a negative light, is inconstant and irregular, inversely proportional to knowing the female partner. STDs in general inspire little fear, while AIDS is associated with death; the interviewees do not see themselves at risk of acquiring HIV. Ambiguities in the men's discourse, together with a basically ineffective approach by health services and preventive campaigns, reveal a high level of exposure to the risk of contracting STDs/AIDS among the interviewees and their female or male partners.

Keywords : Sexuality; Sex Behavior; Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

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