Gender and HIV Infection in the Context of Alcoholism in Kenya

June 2015 - Structural Prevention

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Muturi, N. African Journal of AIDS Research (March 2015), doi: 10.2989/16085906.2015.1016986.

This study assessed the perspectives of rural communities on risk factors for HIV infection among women who are in alcohol-discordant relationships with male partners who consume alcohol excessively. The authors conducted seven focus group discussions with 30 men and 30 women aged 27 to 57 years, who were recruited through community-based organizations. Both male and female participants described the severe alcoholism in Central Kenya, especially affecting men aged 15 and older, and exerting widespread impacts on the socioeconomic welfare of rural families. Participants reported that since alcoholism has become widespread, more women are engaging in extramarital relationships. Women in these relationships also engaged in risky sexual practices for economic reasons, since their partners were spending more money on alcohol. An additional consequence of excessive alcohol consumption was the escalation of sexual violence in rural communities, which made women and girls more vulnerable to HIV infection. The authors concluded that considering the widespread prevalence of alcoholism, and the association between alcoholism and HIV infection, there is an urgent need for HIV prevention programs to focus on older married women in rural areas and include remediation measures for alcoholism.

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