In Their Eyes: HIV prevention from an Islamic perspective in Lamu, Kenya.

A O Maulana, A Krumeich, B van den Borne


Despite efforts to curb the spread of HIV amongst the youth and its positive indication of success in Kenya, the epidemic continues to pose serious challenges to these efforts amongst all demographic groupings across Kenya. This article presents findings of a qualitative study involving 45 youth and 23 Islamic leaders from Lamu, Kenya. The study looked at participant’s perceptions of HIV/AIDS. It also explored participant’s perceptions on what they see as the factors influencing HIV transmission amongst the Lamu youth. Additionally a literature review was used together with the study findings to identify elements for an Islamic based HIV prevention intervention.

Our findings indicated that both the youth and religious leaders’ perceptions of HIV/AIDS comprise a mixture of facts and misconceptions. The participants identified idleness, drug abuse and premarital sex as key factors contributing to the risk of HIV infection amongst the Lamu youth. The symbiotic relationship between religious leaders and youth on various aspects of daily practices was evident throughout the study thereby suggesting the importance of working with both in addressing HIV/AIDS in Lamu.


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