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Citation Information

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master of Arts
Title Engendered socialization, sexuality and the feminization of HIV amongst the Luo of Ngunya Sub-Location of Ugunja constituency
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL http://erepository.uonbi.ac.ke/bitstream/handle/11295/93229/Aluso _Engendered socialization,​sexuality and the feminization of HIV amongst the Luo of Ngunya sub-location of Ugunja​constituency.pdf?sequence=1
Three decades since the first incidence of HIV was reported, the epidemic has acquired distinct
geographic and population based patterns globally, regionally and nationally within Kenya. The
sub-Saharan Africa carries inordinately high level of the global HIV burden. Specifically, Kenya
has the third largest population of people living with HIV in the sub – Saharan Africa and the
highest national HIV prevalence of any country outside of Southern Africa.
The Kenyan epidemic has marked gender disparities, characterized by higher prevalence
amongst women at 6.9% compared to men at 4.4 % (NASCOP, 2013). Young women between
the ages of 15 and 24 years have been found to be nearly four times more vulnerable to
contracting HIV compared to their male counterparts in the same age bracket. Nyanza region of
Kenya which is predominantly occupied by the Luo community have consistently posted high
levels of HIV prevalence over the years (15%) despite high levels of investments in the HIV
This research therefore, sought to explore the intersection between the gendered socialization of
the Luo community in matters of sexuality in relation to the high prevalence to HIV infection.
Ngunya sub – location of Ugunja sub County was picked as the study site. The study employed
qualitative methods of data collection, specifically, face to face individual in-depth interviews
with men, women and the youth in different and age cohorts. Additionally, key informant
interviews were undertaken with aged women and men based on their known capacity as
repository of cultural knowledge. The research involved an equal number of women and men
from ages 18 and above.
The study revealed deep insights that indicated the existence of a parallel and gender distinct
socialization processes of the Luo community in Ngunya sub-location. The gender socialization
was also found to culminate into discernible differential gender power relations that consistently
put women and girls at a disadvantage while placing boys and men on a ‘high pedestal’ on
matters of sexual negotiation. The socialization process was found to further create sexual double
standards, where the boys and men were egged on to be sexually adventurous and to have
multiple sexual partners while the girls were encouraged to remain virgin. It was also revealed
that there has been cultural transformation overtime, such that the initial societal controls that
regulated sex and sexuality before marriage, during marriage and after death of a spouse has
been corrupted over time leading to adoption of ‘sex centered practices’ that reduced options and
freedom particularly of women. At the same, time reducing the demand on the men to be
responsible providers in the families. All these were seen as predisposing factors exposing
women and girls more than men and boys to heightened risks of acquiring HIV infections.
Based on the findings, a raft of recommendations have been made, key amongst them being the
need to embark on an objective inter-generational cultural dialogue to fish out the cultural
corruptions which are fueling the spread of HIV and retain the noble practices which have value
and are applicable in the current context of life.

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