Culture and HIV/AIDS in Africa: Promoting Reproductive Health in the Light of Spouse-Sharing Practice among the Okun People, Nigeria

Makanjuola O. Osagbemi, University of Jos - Nigeria
Bunmi O. Joseph, Agency for Children in Crisis (AFChiC)
Adebowale A. Adepetu, University of Jos - Nigeria
Anthony O. Nyong, University of Jos - Nigeria
Ayodele S. Jegede, University of Ibadan

The Okun tribe numbering about a million persons accepts sexual relation between men and wives of their male kin. Features of spouse-sharing inimical to reproductive health were identified and used to develop an interactive community-based intervention. The intervention promoted discussion of spouse-sharing as risk factor in HIV/AIDS transmission, knowledge of AIDS/STDs, perception of risk and alternative behaviors to avoid contracting HIV/AIDS. The intervention effects were evaluated using data collected in baseline and follow-up surveys in May 1999 and June 2000 among 1018 sexually active respondents in two sets of Okun communities - one with and the other without intervention. The intervention was successful in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS, perception of risk of contracting the disease and intention to discontinue spouse-sharing significantly in the intervention communities. Lessons learned during the intervention are described as means of informing future community based interventions to address traditional practices that could transmit HIV/AIDS.

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Presented in Session 50: HIV and Reproductive Health Behavior