Gender and HIV/AIDS in the Context of Alcohol Consumption in Kenya

TitleGender and HIV/AIDS in the Context of Alcohol Consumption in Kenya
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Muturi, N.
Affiliation (1st Author)Kansas State University, US
Section or WGCommunication and HIV/AIDS Working Group
DateThurs 27 June
Slot CodeCHAT4a
Slot Code (Keyword)CHAT4a
Time of Session16:00-17:30
Session TitleSocial Determinants: Gender and Power Issues in HIV/AIDS and Health
Submission ID5957

Women in sub-Saharan Africa are disproportionately affected by the AIDS epidemic representing more than half (58%) of people living with the HIV. They are not only more vulnerable because of the economic and social inequalities that diminish their abilities to make choices that promote their overall health status but are also more likely to suffer the consequences of stigma including rejection, loss of properly and AIDS-related violence. Use of alcohol has also been strongly linked to the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) due to its impact on behavior and sexual arousal. Extant literature tends to portray females as victims and more susceptible to alcohol-related physical and sexual violence. Limited research has, however, focused on alcohol-discordancy and the risk of HIV/AIDS within marital relationships where females play a more active role in risky sexual behaviors. Such understanding is critical in implementation of gender-specific HIV/AIDS interventions within the context of excessive alcohol consumption. The goal of the current study is to examine the real and perceived risk of HIV/AIDS within marital relationships in rural central Kenya where alcohol consumption has been declared an epidemic that disproportionately affect men of reproductive age. The study presents data from seven focus group with a total of 60 participants and 12 in-depth interviews with opinion leaders who were selected using a snowball method. Several themes emerged from the study: (1) the high awareness of the HIV/AIDS and alcoholism as public health problems; (2) a high prevalence of risky sexual behavior among women who are denied their conjugal rights and economic support by spouses who consume alcohol excessively; (3) the failure to take preventive measures against HIV within and outside marital relations in spite of the perceived risks; and (4) the failure to focus on older and married women as a high-risk group in HIV/AIDS prevention. The study recommends programmatic changes towards a public health approach that address the interaction between alcohol consumption and HIV/AIDS particularly in communities that are impacted by both epidemics and to involve communities in finding suitable solutions that are gender-and culture specific. References UNAIDS (2012). Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic; Tlou SD (2002). Gender and HIV/AIDS. Weiser SD, et al. (2006) A Population-Based Study on Alcohol and High-Risk Sexual Behaviors in Botswana.

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