Women, Sexuality, Sex And Carnival In The Caribbean
HIV and AIDS is a worldwide public health issue. The Caribbean region is at the forefront of this pandemic; especially during the festive Carnival period. HIV and AIDS is the leading cause of death among males and females between the ages of 20-59 (World Health Organisation, 2014a). Women are currently contracting HIV at a disproportionate rate to men (UN Women, 2015). These trends have led health agencies and gender organisations, at both local and regional levels, to unite in support of reversing the HIV epidemic. The incidence of sexually transmitted diseases increases right after Carnival. On an annual basis, there is a peak in the birth rate nine months post Carnival. This paper addresses the following issues: the perception of Carnival culture on the human psyche; the value of Carnival celebrations and their impact on the lives of women; whether Carnival dress and alcohol use are considered conducive to [influencers of/catalysts for?] increased sexual activity; whether the provocative dance movements and musical lyrics influence sexual behaviours; and lastly, whether certain classes of women are considered to be more at risk of STIs owing to their sexual practices at Carnival time.
Keywords - HIV/AIDS, STIs, Caribbean, Carnival, Culture, Women