Baltimore Sun Examines Masai Practices That Could Lead to Spread of HIV
The Baltimore Sun on Sunday profiled the Masai communities in Kenya and Tanzania, including some of their practices that could lead to the spread of HIV. HIV prevalence is low among Masai because they generally do not have sexual relationships with other groups. Among Kenyan Masai, HIV prevalence is estimated at 2.5%, about half of the national average, the Sun reports.
According to the Sun, the risk of HIV is increasing among Masai communities because concurrent sexual partnerships are traditionally considered proper. In addition, many Masai have low awareness of HIV/AIDS and how to prevent transmission of the virus. Masai men are beginning to travel to urban areas for work, having sex with non-Masai women and then transmitting the virus when they return to their communities. In addition, polygamous marriages contribute to an increased risk of HIV among Masai.
Edward Porokwa, who directs a not-for-profit group that lobbies for Masai and other traditional groups, said, "It is a very dangerous environment for the Masai," adding that "everybody will be bombed" as members of the group begin to transmit HIV (Calvert, Baltimore Sun, 3/2).