Exploring sexual risks taken by young Indian women aged 16 -17 amidst the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
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My focus in this research study is the understanding that young Indian women have of risky sexual behaviour within the context of HIV and AIDS. The main objective of this study is to understand how young Indian women perceive themselves as sexual beings and how aware they are about the HIV and AIDS virus. The influencing factors in my embarking on a study of this nature are two-fold. Firstly, the literature on sexuality of Indian women is limited. According to Bhana and Pattman (2008) the Indian community is not regarded as being problematic therefore not much is known or done with regard to Indian sexualities. Secondly my interest in conducting this research and focusing on young Indian women is that there now appears to be an increase in the number of young Indian women who are indulging in risky sexual behaviour at very early stages in their lives. I have purposefully selected six young Indian women based on their age group which is between 16 - 17, as well as from a specific context which is a secondary school in Phoenix. The sample group is not fully representative of all 16 and 17 year olds but has the potential to provide invaluable information and insight into how young women develop their sexual identities especially within the context of HIV and AIDS. The qualitative research method approach was employed as it provided me with the opportunity to comprehend how these young women understand sexual risk and the reasons why they would engage in risky sexual behaviour. The research design employed was a focus group interview with a 90 minute interactive session as well as individual interviews for each participant which lasted about 60 minutes. My findings reveal that Indian women are agentic and that there are a number of factors that influence and contribute towards an increase in the number of Indian women who are engaging in risky sexual behaviour and becoming sexually active at ages that do not prepare them for the negative consequences of risky sexual behaviour.