Cultural Challenges in Adherence to HIV Prevention among Youth in Kisarawe District, Tanzania
Youth in Tanzania and the world at large are among the vulnerable population to HIV infection. Adherence to HIV prevention remains a challenge in Tanzania despite the efforts to curb the pandemic. The purpose of this study was to examine cultural practices that impede adherence to HIV prevention among the youth. The study adopted a cross-sectional design. The respondents were selected through simple random sampling among secondary school students and out of school youth aged 15–35 years in Kisarawe District Coast Region, Tanzania. Data were collected through a structured questionnaire, non-participant observation and documentary review. A total of 146 respondents were involved in the study. The study findings show that customs that encourage early marriage, values and norms that limit negotiation for safe sex and traditions that limit discussion about sexuality issues were a challenge to adherence to HIV prevention among youth. Adherence to HIV prevention and access to sexuality education and reproductive health information was found to be low among youth. The study concludes that customs encouraging early marriage, values and norms limiting negotiation for safe sexual practices, traditions that limit discussions about sexuality issues and night ceremonies significantly impede youth adherence to HIV prevention. The government and non-governmental organisations should ensure implementation of policies and laws against traditional practices that tend to increase youth vulnerability. HIV prevention programmes targeted to youth should focus on sensitisation on harmful cultural practices and ensure the availability of comprehensive sexual education among the youth population.
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