HIV sexual risk behavior and family dynamics in a Dominican tourism town

Arch Sex Behav. 2013 Oct;42(7):1255-65. doi: 10.1007/s10508-012-0064-y. Epub 2013 Feb 23.


Expansion of the tourism industry in the Dominican Republic has had far-reaching health consequences for the local population. Research suggests families with one or more members living in tourism areas experience heightened vulnerability to HIV/STIs due to exposure to tourism environments, which can promote behaviors such as commercial and transactional sex and elevated alcohol use. Nevertheless, little is known about how tourism contexts influence family dynamics, which, in turn, shape HIV risk. This qualitative study examined family relationships through in-depth interviews with 32 adults residing in Sosúa, an internationally known destination for sex tourism. Interviewees situated HIV risk within a context of limited employment opportunities, high rates of migration, heavy alcohol use, and separation from family. This study has implications for effective design of health interventions that make use of the role of the family to prevent HIV transmission in tourism environments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Dominican Republic
  • Employment
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex Work* / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Social Environment
  • Travel
  • Unsafe Sex
  • Young Adult