Attitudes, Knowledge, and Behavior Concerning Reproductive Health and High-Risk Sexual Behavior among Males in Rural Western Kenya
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Throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, the importance of male reproductive health has been overshadowed by an emphasis on maternal and child health. However, men also face a high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancies, and a lack of knowledge, while holding tremendous potential to influence their society. The purpose of this study was to examine the level of reproductive health knowledge held by Luo men in rural western Kenya and to determine whether knowledge has an effect on the behaviors and attitudes of men. Fifty Luo men aged 15-51 were interviewed from numerous villages on the Nyakach Plateau in rural western Kenya. The results showed that only 36% of men had adequate knowledge regarding reproductive health, and 84% said that the men of their village needed additional information in order to plan their families. Knowledge is low, but it is valued—an important piece of information for a sample in which two-thirds had had an STI and 25% said that the sexual partners they had had were too numerous to count. Additionally, although knowledge was associated with condom usage, no association was found between knowledge and unplanned pregnancies, the number of sexual partners, and the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections. All the teenagers in the sample reported using condoms, though only two-thirds of the adults used condoms. These findings highlight the complexity of implementing change in sexual and reproductive health behavior among men in traditional communities based strongly on culture.