Aids and levirate among the luo: A case study of ukwala division, siaya district
The AlDS pandemic is having greater socio-economic impact than any other disease as it selects mainly those in the prime or lire. This study examines the relationship between the spread of AIDs and the practice of levirate among the Luo community or Western Kenya. It also attempts to determine whether the custom can he modified in any meaningful way to suit the development needs of the people. The relationship between AIDS and levirate in this study is explained within the context or one theoretical perspective namely the situational approach to health and illness. The study was based on a sample of 166 respondents which included both men and women. It relied heavily on qualitative - methodology though supportive data were also collected through surveys where a standardized questionnaire was administered to randomly sampled respondents. The qualitative techniques employed included focused group discussions, key informant interviewing and in-depth interview. social status in the community such that what it means to an educated person may be quite different from what it means to an illiterate or semi-literate individual. The results also indicate that even though the practice of levirate can perpetuate the spread of AIDS, it is not the major reason for its rapid spread among the Luo. The results show that even though most people arc aware of the risk involved in practicing levirate this knowledge is largely they are still willing to practice The analysis further indicates that the custom cannot be modified in any meaningful way that call help introducing its contribution to the spread or A IDS. There is also no alternative to the custom. The persistence of levirate, according to the findings of this study, only to a small extent depend on the community's definition and understanding of the institution of marriage. To a large extent, the continued practice or the custom is influenced by a complex system of taboos. Given the findings or this study, it is clear that further studies should be conducted to identify the main reasons behind the relatively rapid spread or the disease among the Luo community compared to other communities in Kenya. The findings also imply that efforts should be made to carefully and systematically about the dangers or practicing levirate as it is currently done.