Perception of risk, sexual behaviour and STD/HIV prevalence in western Kenya

East Afr Med J. 1998 Dec;75(12):679-83.


Objective: To determine the feasibility and acceptability of collecting data on sexual practices, knowledge, attitudes and perception of risk with regard to HIV and STD infection in two clinic populations.

Design: A cross sectional survey carried out between June and July 1992.

Setting: An urban and a rural health centre in western Kenya.

Subjects: One hundred and sixty women attending Maternal Child Health (MCH) and Family Planning Clinics (FP).

Interventions: Screening STDs including N. gonorrhoea, C. trachomatis, T. vaginalis and syphilis. In addition subjects were interviewed about sexual practices, knowledge, attitudes and perception of risk with regard to HIV and STD infection.

Results: The presence of any STD including HIV was detected in 36.2% of women at the urban clinic and 21.2% of women at the rural clinic. The demographics of the two populations were similar with respect to age but were significantly different for several variables including marital status, ethnicity and education. Knowledge of STDs and HIV was nearly universal in both clinic populations with > 96% of patients being aware of the existence of such diseases. 76.3% of women at the urban clinic felt they could get an STD as compared to 48.8% at the rural clinic (p < 0.02). This awareness of vulnerability among the urban population was also seen for HIV.

Conclusion: It appears to be feasible to conduct studies of sexual practices and perceptions of risk for STD/HIV acquisition in women attending health centres in Kenya.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Rural Health
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / transmission
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Health
  • Women / psychology*