Article

AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 369-376

The Babel Effect: Community Linguistic Diversity and Extramarital Sex in Uganda

  • David BishaiAffiliated withDepartment of Population and Family Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthDepartment of Population and Family Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Email author 
  • , Priya PatilAffiliated withFutures Group
  • , George PariyoAffiliated withMakerere University
  • , Ken HillAffiliated withDepartment of Population and Family Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

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We examine the association of community linguistic diversity with non-spousal sexual activity in Uganda. We conducted a survey on rates of sexual contact in last 12 months among 1709 respondents age 18–60 living in Uganda in early 2001. Households were selected at random from Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2000 household sampling frame listings in 12 districts and 120 clusters. Household listings described the principal language spoken by every household in the cluster. Sexual contact was reported by 26 vs. 13% of unmarried women in multilingual vs. monolingual clusters respectively. Extramarital sexual contact occurred for 29 vs. 16% for married men in multilingual vs. monolingual clusters respectively. These results were robust to multivariate models which included confounders such as urbanity, and cluster distance to market places, cinemas, and transportation. Our results suggest a robust association between residence in a multilinguistic community and higher rates of non-spousal sex.

KEY WORDS:

Uganda community extramarital sex