Kirsten Stoebenau
Assistant Research Professor, Behavioral and Community Health
Campus: UMD | Building: SPH | Room: 1242W
Phone: 301-314-2117 |
Office Hours: 

Please feel free to reach out via email to set up an appointment with me.

CV / Resume
File CV KStoebenau 10_2020-to web.docx

Dr. Stoebenau is a social and behavioral scientist with expertise in the social determinants of women’s sexual and reproductive health in sub-Saharan Africa.  In her work, Dr. Stoebenau draws on social theory and mixed-method approaches to examine how gender inequality and social and economic stratification influence relationships and family behavior, and therefore carry consequences for women’s HIV risk, adolescent fertility, and child wellbeing.

Dr. Stoebenau has spent over 15 years addressing adolescent girls and young women’s disproportionate risk to HIV. She served as the co-chair of a Working Group on Transactional Sex and HIV under the STRIVE research consortium (  This group aimed to better understand, and mitigate, the role of transactional sex (informal sexual exchange relationships) in adolescent girls and young women’s risk of HIV across sub-Saharan Africa. She continues work in HIV prevention and treatment through collaborations with the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Institute of Human Virology. Dr. Stoebenau contributes to intervention development and evaluation of programs that work with community health workers to deliver HIV prevention and treatment services to vulnerable populations in Zambia.   

More recently, she has begun to focus on the health impacts of the social stratification of union and family formation processes within the context of rising economic inequality across sub-Saharan Africa. In a project funded by the NICHD, she is using Demographic and Health Survey data to examine trends in the age at first marriage and first childbirth across socio-economic status. In addition, she is working with colleagues across the University on two projects in Nairobi, Kenya, in partnership with the African Population and Health Research Center. These projects aim to improve the measurement of marriage, and assess whether and how the “strength” of a marital relationship, and the support of kin, impact women’s and their children’s health and wellbeing in Nairobi, Kenya.     

Dr. Stoebenau is also a faculty associate with the Maryland Population Research Center. She comes to the University of Maryland from American University in Washington, D.C. where she was a Research Assistant Professor in the Center on Health, Risk and Society.  Before that, she spent five years at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), an applied research institute addressing gender inequality across the globe.

Education and Training

B.S. Anthropology, Emory University, 1995.

Ph.D., Population and Family Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2006.


Women's Health - HLTH 471

Measuring Change in Community Health - HLTH 302


Selected Peer Review Publications



2019    Kirsten Stoebenau, Nambusi Kyegombe, Jeffrey B. Bingenheimer, Ismael Ddumba-Nyanzi, and Josephine Mulindwa. Developing experimental vignettes to identify gender norms associated with transactional sex for adolescent girls and young women in Central Uganda. Journal of Adolescent Health, 64(4), S60-S66.

2019      Joyce Wamoyi, Meghna Ranganathan, Nambusi Kyegombe and Kirsten Stoebenau*.  Improving the Measurement of Transactional Sex in sub-Saharan Africa: A Critical Review. JAIDS. 80:4, 367 - 374, 2019. 

2017       Suzanne Petroni, Mara Steinhaus, Natacha Stevanovic, Kirsten Stoebenau, Amy Gregowski: “New Findings on Child Marriage in sub-Saharan Africa.” Annals of Global Health, forthcoming.

2016       Joyce Wamoyi, Kirsten Stoebenau, Tanya Abramsky, Natalia Bobrova and Charlotte Watts: “Transactional sex and risk for HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Journal of the International AIDS Society (19) 20992.

2016       Kirsten Stoebenau, Lori Heise, Joyce Wamoyi and Natalia Bobrova: “Revisiting the Understanding of ‘transactional sex’ in sub-Saharan Africa:  A review and synthesis of the literature.” Social Science & Medicine (168) 186-197.

2016       Jeffrey B. Bingenheimer, and Kirsten Stoebenau. "The Relationship Context of Adolescent Fertility in Southeastern Ghana." International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 42(1) 1-12.

2013       Kirsten Stoebenau, Rama Nair, Valérie Rambeloson, Ghislain Rakotoarison, Violette Razafintsalama and Ronald Labonté: “Consuming Sex: The association between modern goods, lifestyles and sexual behaviour among youth in Madagascar,” Globalization and Health, 9:13 (11 May 2013).

2011       Kirsten Stoebenau, Stephanie A Nixon, Clara Rubincam, Samantha Willan, Yanga ZN Zembe, Tumelo Tsikoane, Pius T Tanga, Haruna M Bello, Carlos F Caceres, Loraine Townsend, Paul G Rakotoarison and Violette Razafintsalama, “More than just talk:  The framing of transactional sex and its implications for vulnerability to HIV in Lesotho, Madagascar and South Africa.”  Globalization and Health, 7:34 (30 September 2011).

2009       Kirsten Stoebenau, “Symbolic Capital and Health: The Case of Women’s Sex Work in Antananarivo, Madagascar,” Social Science & Medicine, 68 (11) 2045-2052.

2009       Kirsten Stoebenau, Michelle J. Hindin, Constance A. Nathanson, Paul Ghislain Rakotoarison and Violette Razafintsalama. “The Implications of Relationship Fluidity for Condom Use among Sex Workers in Antananarivo, Madagascar,” American Journal of Public Health, 99 (5) 811-819.


Selected Technical Reports

2018       Kirsten Stoebenau, Joyce Wamoyi, Annie Holmes, Nambusi Kyegombe, Meghna Ranganathan and Lori Heise; with contributions from Holly Prudden and Natalia Bobrova. “Transactional sex and HIV risk: From analysis to action,” STRIVE and UNAIDS Reference Document, Geneva.

2017       Neetu A. John, Kirsten Stoebenau, Samantha Ritter, Jeffrey Edmeades.  Gender Socialization during Adolescence in Low and Middle Income Countries: Conceptualization, influences and outcomes. Innocenti Discussion Paper 2017-01, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, Florence.

2015      Kirsten Stoebenau, Ann Warner, Jeffrey D. Edmeades, Magnolia Sexton: “Girls are like leaves on the wind:” How gender expectations impact girls’ education – A closer look from West Nile, Uganda.  ICRW, March, 2015. Washington, D.C. 

2014       Ann Warner, Kirsten Stoebenau and Allie McGonagle Glinski: More Power to Her: How Empowering Girls can end Child Marriage.  ICRW, Washington, D.C. 

2013      Kirsten Stoebenau, Rohini Pande and Anju Malhotra. Has fertility decline contributed to improvements in women’s lives? International Center for Research on Women Fertility & Empowerment Working Paper Series. 012-2013-ICRW-FE. Pages 1-41.