Voices unheard: youth and sexuality in the wake of HIV prevention in Kenya.


OBJECTIVE The aim of the study was to explore the concerns of young people on sexuality in its social contexts in the era of HIV/AIDS in three districts in Kenya. STUDY DESIGN Young people in Kajiado, Kirinyaga and Meru Districts were requested to write questions on sexuality and related problems that later formed the basis for discussion in community dialogue meetings with adults. The social ecological conceptual model (SEM) was used to illuminate the contextual factors and actors influencing sexual behaviours among young people. RESULTS The study suggests that young people and adults are concerned about honest and open communication on sexuality. Predominant concerns for the young people were love, sexual urge, desires or sexual wellness and condom use. Their questions suggest that young people are sexually active, yet have little knowledge on sexual matters. The results describe a prohibitive silence from adults, an issue reflected in the questions from the school youth. CONCLUSION This study suggests the need to move from seeing sexuality as a problem and focus on sexual wellness and the positive aspects of sexuality. The adult participants suggested that bringing men and women together for reflection and discussion in a participatory mode, transformative learning and change could be achieved. It is vital that the youth and adults have open communication as a foundation for youth to mature into adults. This can be achieved, if interventions including research address multiple contextual factors such as cultural norms, gender differences, as well as communication barriers.

DOI: 10.1016/j.srhc.2010.07.006

Cite this paper

@article{Njoroge2010VoicesUY, title={Voices unheard: youth and sexuality in the wake of HIV prevention in Kenya.}, author={Kezia Muthoni Njoroge and Pia Olsson and Ann M Pertet and Beth Maina Ahlberg}, journal={Sexual & reproductive healthcare : official journal of the Swedish Association of Midwives}, year={2010}, volume={1 4}, pages={143-8} }