Women, Motherhood and Living with HIV/AIDS

Type Book Section - Motherhood, Infertility, and HIV: The Maasai Context of Northern Tanzania
Title Women, Motherhood and Living with HIV/AIDS
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Publisher Springer
URL https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-007-5887-2_5
In a culture emphasizing procreation and sexual relations as an integral part of everyday life and success in society, the Maasai of Northern Tanzania face a difficult task when confronting HIV/AIDS. Reproduction and motherhood are inextricably linked to prosperity and success for the Maasai. In fact, Maasai women are expected to produce children to fulfill life’s purpose, and women without children are most certainly pitied. Therefore, an absence of children gives said women license to engage in sexual practises that may be considered as high risk in order to cure her affliction of infertility. HIV/AIDS becomes of particular concern with infertility is a factor for Maasai women because such women are more likely to engage in unprotected sexual intercourse with greater numbers of male partners in an attempt to conceive, thereby increasing the likelihood of exposure to HIV and other diseases. This chapter will explore the unique cultural and sexual practises of the Maasai that seek to mitigate infertility and achieve motherhood, while also examining how such practises contribute to risk of exposure to HIV/AIDS. The research discussed in this chapter has been collected over the course of 2 years, between 2008 and 2010 in the Maasai community of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) in Northern Tanzania. To gather data in a culturally sensitive manner and emphasize a participatory approach, participatory action research (PAR) methodology was employed in this research.

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