Date of Conferral





Public Health


Jeanne L. Connors


Traditionally, in Nigeria women play a subservient role in relation to men. While a man can practice polygamy by marrying many wives, women cannot marry more than one husband at a time. Although researchers have documented the effects of polygamy on the spread of HIV/AIDS, little is known about the experiences of polygamy by Nigerian women who stopped practicing polygamy by immigrating to the United States without their husbands. It is important to know the experiences of these women as they pertain specifically to the spread of HIV/AIDS so as to develop a preventive intervention for HIV/AIDS among Nigerian women in polygamy. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the perspectives on HIV/AIDS held by 10 Nigerian women who practiced polygamy in Nigeria before immigrating to the United States. Recruitment was done through purposive sampling at a faith-based organization. Guided by the health belief model, interview transcripts from the 10 women were analyzed to reveal recurrent themes that expressed the women's lived experiences in polygamy with their perspectives on HIV/AIDS. Findings revealed that these women had a basic knowledge of the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS by engaging in polygamy but needed to comply with the terms of sexual encounters as dictated by their husbands; therefore, they were at risk for HIV/AIDS. The results of this study can be used to increase awareness among Nigerian women in polygamy and Nigerian health policy makers regarding the transmission of HIV/AIDS and the preventive measures available for HIV/AIDS. Understanding the experiences of women in polygamy may lead to greater understanding of the impact of polygamy on HIV/AIDS and may help to decrease the prevalence of this disease.