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Concern About HIV and AIDS Among Older People in the Slums of Nairobi, Kenya

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Abstract:

The article explores the way that social networks and personal experiences affect perceived HIV‐related concerns among people aged 50 years or older living in a low resource neighborhood with high HIV prevalence in Nairobi, Kenya. Multiple logistic regression is used to model the association between the reporting of an HIV‐related concern and individual‐level characteristics, personal experiences, and social interaction. The main concerns regarding HIV reported by older people in the study included caring for orphaned children (65%), caring for people with AIDS (48%), and losing material and social support from adult children (36%). Interestingly, 38% of respondents voiced concerns about HIV infection among older people. Respondents who had been individually affected by HIV and AIDS, who were part of a wide social network, or who participated in community activities were frequently more likely to report a concern. The findings highlight the significance of the role of social interaction and social networks in the diffusion of information and knowledge. These findings have implications for HIV and AIDS policy and programs, highlighting the potential for social networks and community‐level interventions to educate and increase awareness about HIV and AIDS among older people. Community leaders can make good peer educators and communication agents for HIV/AIDS campaigns. Additionally, the recognized high level of personal vulnerability to HIV infection among older people suggests the need for targeted sexual behavior change programs among this often neglected group.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2011.01765.x

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Research on Ageing, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK. 2: School of Social Sciences and ESRC Centre for Population Change, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK. 3: Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK.

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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