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Title: Empowerment and HIV prevention among women in Nigeria : the relative significance of behavioural and structural determinants
Author: Alo, Oluwatosin Ige
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 115X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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Lack of empowerment and the resulting inability to negotiate safe sex is identified in this thesis as a major factor promoting the spread of HIV infection among heterosexual Yoruba women in Nigeria, and my research also explored what kinds of interventions might deal with these problems. Currently, behavioural approaches represent the dominant ideology in the field of HIV prevention, with the focus on tackling the problem of lack of knowledge and awareness, and lack of commitment to prevention. The research investigated was whether these strategies are adequately sensitive to the experiences of women in Nigeria or fails to take account of how socio-cultural and economic forces constrain or enable them to adopt recommended sexual health behaviours. To explore these issues, respondent groups included low and high socio-economic status women, low and high socio-economic status men, local HIV/AIDS agencies and people living with HIV/AIDS. Using qualitative methods to elicit rich and deep data about how the respondents define their health behaviour in relation to HIV, sex practices and women’s empowerment, I conducted 29 in-depth interviews and six focus group discussions, involving 91 participants. There are two key findings. First, behavioural approaches to HIV prevention are limited because women’s inability to negotiate safe sex in heterosexual relationships reflects structural problems rather than an individual lack of knowledge or awareness. Women are more constrained by the fears of relationships breakup, economic insecurity, violence and the difficulty in being able to justify why they feel the need to insist on safe sex, as this is perceived as antithetical to trust in sexual relationships. Second, although women’s access to life opportunities can help, this does not automatically empower them to negotiate safe sex because of the widespread culture of patriarchy. Thus, structural approaches to HIV prevention among women need to do more than promote economic redistribution and access to formal education. Thus the study argues that policy and strategy on HIV prevention should not be confined to narrow individual-level interventions, but be informed by wider perspectives of how traditional gender stereotypes promote women’s disempowerment and run counter to safe sex practices in heterosexual relationships.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HQ The family. Marriage. Woman ; RC Internal medicine