‘He said, she said’: assessing dyadic agreement of reported sexual behaviour and decision-making among an HIV sero-discordant couples cohort in Uganda
The intimate nature of sexuality makes it challenging to accurately measure sexual behaviour. To assess response reliability, we examined agreement between couples in heterosexual HIV sero-discordant partnership on survey questions regarding condom use and sexual decision-making.Methods
Data for this analysis come from baseline data from a cohort study of HIV sero-discordant couples in Jinja, Uganda. We examined the degree of agreement between male and female partners on standard measures of sexual behaviour using the kappa (κ) statistic and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs).Results
Among 409 couples, the median age for the male partner was 41 [interquartile range (IQR) 35–48] years and the female partner was 35 (IQR 30–40) years. Among 58.2% of the couples, the male was the HIV-positive partner. Questions with high or substantial couple agreement included condom use at last sex (κ=0.635, 95% CI 0.551–0.718) and frequency of condom use (κ=0.625, 95% CI 0.551–0.698). Questions with low or fair couple agreement included decision-making regarding condom use (κ=0.385, 95% CI 0.319–0.451), wanting more biological children (κ=0.375, 95% CI 0.301–0.449) and deciding when to have sex (κ=0.236, 95% CI 0.167–0.306).Conclusions
Survey questions assessing condom use had the highest level of couple agreement and questions regarding sexual decision-making and fertility desire had low couple agreement. Questions with high agreement have increased reliability and reduced measurement bias; however, questions with low agreement between couples identify important areas for further investigation, particularly perceived relationship control and gender differences.