Date of Conferral





Health Services


Jeanne Connors


This phenomenological study was designed to understand the lived experiences of a purposive sample of 9 participants from local villages in Nairobi, Kenya, who had sexual behaviors that contributed to higher HIV risk exposure. Past studies have provided information about the increased rates of HIV infection; however, little has been done to identify the solutions for minimizing the negative impact of HIV among concurrent partnerships. The study investigated the role of high risk cultural practices among participants in married and cohabitating unions. The conceptual framework of the study was gender and power theory, which addresses the complex sexual relationships between men and women. Semi-structured, open-ended questions were used to obtain data from 4 males and 5 females between the ages of 28 and 46 who had been sexually active for more than 12 months. Data was collected on participants' cultural perspectives on condom use, HIV risk behaviors, and sexual morality. The interviews were transcribed and reviewed for consistent patterns of high risk sexual behaviors prior to coding. Through the use of NVivo, seven emergent themes were common among the participants. Findings from the small scale sexual risk behavioral data showed that among these participants, condom use and partner fidelity in unequal partnerships were low. The study also indicated the importance of developing an HIV intervention that focuses on gender and power in long-term sexual partnerships. The implications for positive social change included awareness that gender inequality exists among concurrent unions and formulating an effective cultural HIV prevention strategy for couples.