‘More Zambian married women cheating’

According to the research, titled “Zambia Sexual Behaviour Survey (ZSBS)”, married women are increasingly cheating on their spouses. “Among married females, the proportion that reported having had at least one non-marital partner increased from 1.7 percent in 2003 to 2.8 percent in 2005,” says the study without giving reasons for this rare trend. In terms of marital status, the survey results indicate that the proportion of married males reporting having had at least one non-marital partner declined from 9.8 percent in 2000 to 7.4 percent in 2003, and then increased to 7.6 percent in 2005. Similarly, those reporting having had two to three non- marital partners also increased from 1.3 percent in 2003 to 1.6 percent in 2005. A similar trend was observed among unmarried males and females. The proportion of unmarried males reporting having had one non-regular partner increased from 29.6 percent in 2003 to 30.2 percent in 2005. The proportion reporting having had two to three non-regular partners has been declining since 2000 from 9.5 percent that year to 7.3 percent in 2003 and then to 5.3 percent in 2005. Similarly, the proportion of unmarried females reporting having had at least one non-regular partner has continued to decline over the years, from 25 percent in 2000 and 2003 to 21.9 percent in 2005. Those reporting having had two to three partners increased between 2000 and 2003 from 1.8 percent to 2.4 percent, then declining to 1.9 percent in 2005. No change was observed in those reporting having had two to three non- marital partners. On high risk sexual practices, the survey showed a decline. “Sexual Behaviour Survey results show some slight decline in risky behaviour among sexually active women and men,” says the report. The proportion of respondents who reported having had sex with a non-regular partner declined from 24.0 percent in 1998 to 21.9 percent in 2000. In 2003, it increased to 22.5 percent and declined to 21.7 percent in 2005. The proportion of sexually active men who reported having had sex with a non-regular partner was 27.6 percent in 2005, recording a decline of 1.8 percentage points from 29.4 percent in 2003. However, there was a notable decline of 10.2 percentage points between 1998 and 2000 from 39.1 percent to 28.9 percent, respectively. The proportion of females reporting having had sex with a non-regular partner declined from 16.6 percent in 1998 to 15.6 percent in 2000. It increased slightly to 15.9 percent in 2003 and then remained relatively the same in 2005 at 15.8 percent. The survey also collected data on the number of non-regular partners among the married and unmarried respondents. Last year 13.4 percent of respondents had at least one non- regular partner indicating no change from 2003. Those reporting having had two or three partners declined from 2.5 percent in 2003 to 1.9 percent in 2005. In a related development, another survey revealed that more Zambians are going for voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) as the HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns intensify. The report by the ZSBS ‘ which monitors sexual behavioural change in the country ‘ made available to The Southern Times, stated that more people aged between 15 and 59 are now willing to go for VCT to determine their HIV status than was the case a few years ago. “The Zambia Sexual Behaviour Survey asked females aged 15-49 years and males aged 15-59 years if they ever had an HIV test. Overall, 13.4 percent reported having had the HIV test. Of the males in the age group 15-59 years, 11.4 percent had the HIV test, while 15.3 percent of females aged 15-49 years had the test,” says the survey report. The survey showed that the proportions of persons going for HIV tests have been increasing since 1998. Although the proportions declined between 2000 and 2003, there has been an increase of 5.5 percentage points from 7.9 percent in 1998 to the current 13.4 percent. The trends are almost similar when the results are categorised according to sex. In the 1998 survey, 9.2 percent of males had an HIV test compared to 11.4 percent in 2005. The percentage of females who took an HIV test increased from 6.8 percent in 1998 to 15.3 percent in 2005. Analysis by residence revealed that there was an increase in the proportions of persons who took HIV test in urban areas than in rural areas. In urban areas, the proportions increased from 9.6 percent in 1998 to 15.9 percent in 2000, and then declined slightly to 14.1 percent in 2003. The 2005 results showed an increase of 5.5 percentage points from the 14.1 percent of 2003. The results further revealed that urban the female proportion doubled from 15.1 percent in 1998 to 31.6 percent in 2005, while that of males increased from 10.5 percent in 1998 to 15.1 percent in 2005. The rural scenario shows a similar pattern to that of urban areas, though the proportions for both males and females are much lower as compared to those in urban areas. The highest proportion of persons going for an HIV test in rural areas was recorded at 11.9 percent in 2000, then declined to 5.7 percent in 2003. In 2005 the proportion of persons tested was recorded at 10.1 percent showing an increase of 4.4 percentage points from the 2003 results. ‘ Volume 38 Central Statistical Office.

June 2006
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