Gender issues in the prevention and control of STIs and HIV/AIDS: lessons from Awka and Agulu, Anambra State, Nigeria

Afr J Reprod Health. 2003 Aug;7(2):89-99.


The study examined perceptions, practices and norms underlying sexuality and gender relations that constrain the prevention and control of STIs and HIV/AIDS. It was carried out among the Igbo of Awka and Agulu in Anambra State of Nigeria. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used for data collection. Findings indicate that cultural practices that encourage the establishment of sexual networks by men persist in the study communities. Some married women who are not able to achieve pregnancy with their husbands get involved in such networks to have children. Some parents who do not have male children encourage their unmarried daughters to have children out of wedlock so as to perpetuate the lineage. Inequality in gender relations and fear of repercussions constrain women from negotiating safe sex. Sexuality education is, therefore, necessary to improve the knowledge base, perceptions and sexual behaviours of the study communities. Women should be empowered to make informed decisions about sexuality and childbearing. Male responsibility in reproductive health should also be encouraged.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Condoms
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria
  • Reproductive Behavior / ethnology
  • Sexual Behavior / ethnology
  • Sexual Partners