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Vulnerability to HIV infection among Luo female adolescent orphans in Western Kenya

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Abstract:

Large-scale surveys have reported that about 55% of orphans worldwide are adolescents. In Kenya, the majority of HIV-infected adolescents are females. The current study used the anthropological methods of in-depth case studies to analyse how migratory life situations of individual female adolescent orphans in the Luo community of Western Kenya may increase their exposure to HIV. The study shows that the ability of the female adolescent orphans to adopt risk-preventive behaviour in relation to HIV is determined by a range of factors beyond their control of individual sexual behaviour. Although analysis of a single case study limits generalisation of the findings, the results provide insights into the reason for sex differentials in HIV infection rates among adolescents as reported in some large-scale surveys. The paper recommends that HIV prevention strategies for adolescents should examine the specific life situations of female orphans by focusing on the impacts of HIV and AIDS and poverty on the protective role of the family. It also recommends that keeping female adolescent orphans in school or in vocational training can be an effective HIV prevention strategy for them.

Keywords: BEHAVIOUR; EAST AFRICA; FAMILY; FOSTERING; HIV PREVENTION; LUO; MIGRATION; QUALITATIVE RESEARCH; SEX DIFFERENTIALS; SEXUAL; VULNERABLE GROUPS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-11-01

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