Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - LGBT Health
Title Women who have sex with women in Kenya and their sexual and reproductive health
Volume 3
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 139-145
URL http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/lgbt.2014.0121?journalCode=lgbt
Purpose: To describe sexual and reproductive health characteristics of women who have sex with women (WSW) in Kenya's three most populous cities: Kisumu, Mombasa, and Nairobi. Although the last decade has shown an upsurge of health-related research studies in African sexual minority populations, these studies have generally concentrated on the health status of men who have sex with men to the exclusion of WSW. This study presents the first findings on Kenyan WSW's sexual and reproductive health.

Methods: A community-based, cross-sectional survey was conducted among 280 women who were at least 18 years old, had at least one female sexual partner in the past three years, and were Kenyan residents.

Results: A significant proportion of participants reported that they had at least one male sexual partner in the past three years (38.9%), ever had an abortion (13.2%), been infected with at least one sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the past three years (33.9%), and been tested for HIV at least once (88.9%). Of the women who reported having been tested for HIV, 9.4% (7.5% of the total sample) received a positive test result. Some women noted that they were open with their doctors about their sexual orientation, and that their doctors had not reacted negatively to this information.

Conclusion: WSW in Kenya are at risk for negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes, including HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and unsafe abortion, positioning these women as a critical population for public health efforts. Some WSW actively exercise their agency in making important health decisions. Therefore, this study indicates a need to incorporate WSW's health concerns within Kenyan national health policy programming.

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