Factors influencing participation of men in HIV prevention in Kakamega Central District, Kenya
Makungu, Elsie M
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There are an estimated 40.3 million people living with HIV I AIDS worldwide, a greater number than ever before and twice the number in 1995. According to UNAIDS (2005), one of the most affected regions around the world is: Sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa has been hardest hit and is home to 64% (25.8 million) of people living with HIV/AIDS but only has 11-12% of the world's population. In Kenya, HIV/AIDS is recognized as a grave public health and social development concern. Currently, results from the Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS, 2008-9) indicate that 6.3% of Kenyan adults age 15-49 are infected with HIV, with proportionately more women (8.8%) than men (5.5 percent) age 15-49 are being infected. Fuelled by poverty, gender inequality and lack of information and prevention services, female adults, in particular, are exposed to the risks of HIV infection and eventually AIDS. Many challenges remain, particularly those that relate to the vulnerability to HIV of women as influenced by men. Women's vulnerability is compounded by a male dominated society whose sexual beliefs are not always scientifically correct. Despite high incidences of HIV and AIDS, male involvement and participation in HIV prevention has continued to be low. Little has been done to identify, analyze and understand factors that influence this low trend of involvement. It needs to be recognized that men have their own vulnerabilities to HIV and AIDS prevention that have not been thoroughly examined. The purpose of this study therefore was to investigate the factors influencing the participation of men in HIV prevention. The overall objective of the study was to assess the factors influencing the participation of men in HIV prevention. A descriptive research design was used to establish the relationship among study variables. These variables were: individual, societal and institutional factors. The target population consisted of 68 men and 737 women in Common Interest Groups and 34 health service providers in Kakamega Central District. Stratified, purposive and simple random sampling procedures were used to select the study respondents of 26 men and 70 women; while cluster sampling was used to select a sample size of 33 health service providers. The research instruments used for data collection were questionnaires and interview schedules. Content validity was used to validate the research instruments. Reliability of the research instruments was determined through pilot study and the data analyzed using Pearson Correlation Coefficient which yielded a value, r = of 0.77 which was above the acceptable value of r = 0.5. The collected data was analyzed using descriptive (mean, standard deviation) and inferential (Pearson product moment correlation) statistics. The findings of the study revealed that individual factors such as fear of death, fear of results being positive and use of partner's status as own hindered participation of men in HIV prevention. Societal factors like stigma of HIV and sexual promiscuity hindered participation of men in HIV prevention. The results further showed that institutional factors like lack of confidentiality and services being skewed towards women negatively affected participation of men in HIV prevention. In conclusion, individual, and institutional factors had negative correlation on participation of men in prevention of HIV. Therefore, based on the study findings, the following recommendations were made: men should be actively involved in the fight against HIV and health facilities and services like Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission of HIV should be highly encouraged among men. It is hoped that the study findings will be useful to the larger Ministry of Health, AIDS Serving Organizations, donor agencies, community members involved in HIV prevention community gatekeepers and opinion/leaders and other stakeholders in their improvement of programmes, policies and practices on how best to prevent involve men in HIV prevention.