Factors enhancing vulnerability to HIV and AIDS to residents of central division, Moyale district Kenya
The global pandemic of HIV and AIDS has now entered its third decade. It is now estimated that more than 33 million people are living with HIV and AIDS worldwide and 6800 and over 5700 new infections and deaths reported each day respectively, imposing a high burden on health infrastructure and continuing to reverse decades of hard-earned economic and social development gains. In sub Sahara Africa, the most severely affected region in the world, more than 60% of hospital beds, are occupied by persons with HfV related diseases. It has been widely recognized that in order to haveeffective prevention programmes for HIV and AIDS, the broader determinants of health must be addressed. The purpose of the study was to establish factors enhancing vulnerability to HIV and AIDS among residents of Central Division, Moyale District. A descriptive cross sectional study design was employed and data collected using questionnaires, key Informant Interviews and Focus Group Discussion. Data was analyzed using SPSS. A total of 318 respondents were recruited from 7 randomly selected sub locations. Slightly over 59.4% of respondents were male, and 40.6% were female. About 55.8% had attained secondary level education, 22.6% primary level, ] 9.4% tertiary level and 2.1% had not received any formal education. The study found out that there was generally low level of knowledge towards HlY and AIDS in the study area. A positive correlation between attitude arid knowledge was revealed in the study (a = 0.446, p<O.OOO; correlation significant at 0.01; 2 tailed). A number of social cultural and religious practices that enhance vulnerability to HIV and AIDS were identified which included multiple sexual partners, poor and low levels of condom use, early marriages for girls, divorce, FGM, polygamy, wedding and child naming ceremonies, traditional midwifery and surgery, cross border commercial sex and married couples allowed to have extra-marital relationship traditionally, Slightly less than a half (45%) of respondents were found to be having more than one sexual partner. There was a significant difference between condom use during sexual intercourse and the respondents' sex (X2=15.l34, df=l, p=O.OOO). There was also a significant relationship between respondents' monthly income and condom use (X2=03.297, df=4, p=O.OOO). There were still strong misconception about the causes and ways to prevent oneself from HIV and AIDS. The study recommends that governmental and its partners intensify basic education and dissemination of information to enhance awareness about HN and AIDS. Community mobilization to eliminate socio-cultural and religious practices enhancing vulnerability to HIV and AIDS should be initiated by government and its partners. Future interventions should seek to address contextual limitation such as -household poverty, inadequate services and gender inequality to be able to achieve and sustain the desired impact.