June #180 : A Bang for Your Buck - by Lauren Tuck

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The POZ Army: How We End AIDS Together

Criminal Injustice

From the Editor

Reignite the Fight


Letters- June 2012


Uncommon Threads

What You Need to Know

A Graduate Degree in Condoms

The Normal Heart on Tour

A Bang for Your Buck

The Odds May Not Be in Your Favor if You Don’t Know Your Status

Further Adventures in the Origin of AIDS

We Hear You

POZ Survey Says

What Will You Do to End AIDS?

What Matters to You

The Implementation of the Affordable Care Act

Treatment News

Chasing the Cure

More Black Women Die From AIDS

Can HIV-Positive People Get the Shingles Vax?

Drop Condoms on the Red Carpet, Not in Criminal Court

GMHC Treatment Issues June 2012

Comfort Zone

Mobile Health

POZ Heroes

The Artist

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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June 2012

A Bang for Your Buck

by Lauren Tuck

Pretty WomanRemember that scene in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts’s character, prostitute Vivian Ward, says to Richard Gere’s sex solicitor Edward Lewis: “I got red, I got green, I got yellow, I’m out of purple, but I do have one Gold Circle coin left. The condom of champions…. Nothin’ is gettin’ through this sucker”? Well, life isn’t like the movies. And, pretty or not, women don’t demand condom use as adeptly as vivacious Vivian. In fact, teenage women are less likely to use condoms if their primary source of spending money comes from their boyfriends.

That’s what researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine found in an HIV prevention study of 715 African-American adolescent girls in Atlanta. Specifically, if their cash came from a steady boy toy—as opposed to a parent or job—the ladies were 50 percent more likely not to use condoms. So, in a way, these Southern belles were trading unsafe sex for a buck.  

Across the Atlantic in sub-Saharan Africa, World Bank researchers may have found the bargaining chip all women need to negotiate safer sex. When researchers provided small, regular cash payments to young females and their families in Malawi, the girls were less than half as likely to contract HIV than those not being paid.

In the film, Edward sweeps Vivian off her feet and they live happily ever after. Their love story is the exception, not the rule, but even in real life, providing women with economic empowerment helps them make better sexual decisions—which is certainly a fairy-tale ending.

Search: Atlanta, Georgia, sub-Saharan Africa, Malawi, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts, Vivian Ward, Richard Gere, Edward Lewis, condom, World Bank

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