Female genital cutting and HIV/AIDS among Kenyan women.

Stud Fam Plann. 2007 Jun;38(2):73-88.

Female genital cutting and HIV/AIDS among Kenyan women.

Yount KM, Abraham BK.

Department of Sociology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road NE, Room 724, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. kyount@sph.emory.edu


Female genital cutting (FGC) and HIV/AIDS are both highly prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, and researchers have speculated that the association may be more than coincidental. Data from 3167 women aged 15-49 who participated in the 2003 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) are used to test the direct and indirect associations of FGC with HIV. Our adjusted models suggest that FGC is not associated directly with HIV, but is associated indirectly through several pathways. Cut women are 1.72 times more likely than uncut women to have older partners, and women with older partners are 2.65 times more likely than women with younger partners to test positive for HIV Cut women have 1.94 times higher odds than uncut women of initiating sexual intercourse before they are 20, and women who experience their sexual debut before age 20 have 1.73 times higher odds than those whose sexual debut comes later of testing positive for HIV. Cut women have 27 percent lower odds of having at least one extra-union partner, and women with an extra-union partner have 2.63 times higher odds of testing positive for HIV. Therefore, in Kenya, FGC may be an early life-course event that indirectly alters women’s odds of becoming infected with HIV through protective and harmful practices in adulthood.

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