Traditional practices and exposure to bodily fluids in Lusaka, Zambia

Trop Med Int Health. 2007 Jan;12(1):150-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2006.01760.x.


Objectives: To ascertain if there are specific sociocultural and behavioural practices associated with the exposure to saliva, semen and vaginal fluids, particularly through child-rearing practices and the use of traditional medicine in Lusaka, Zambia.

Methods: We conducted 11 focus group discussions with men and women from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds (n = 105) in Lusaka, Zambia in March 2004. We also conducted a brief sociodemographic survey of all focus group participants.

Results: Discussions indicated that saliva was used while engaging in home health care practices associated with childcare and the use of traditional medicine. Additionally, semen and vaginal fluids may be used in rituals associated with childcare and health care for children. Our survey indicated that the use of traditional medicine is associated with lower socioeconomic status.

Conclusions: Population-based studies are needed to evaluate the relationship between traditional behavioural and sociocultural practices, which involve exchange of saliva and other bodily fluids and risk of infectious disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Fluids*
  • Ceremonial Behavior*
  • Child
  • Child Rearing / psychology
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Home Nursing / methods
  • Home Nursing / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Medicine, African Traditional*
  • Saliva
  • Semen
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Vagina
  • Zambia