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Wasting sperm: the cultural context of condom use among the Maasai of Northern Tanzania

Coast, Ernestina ORCID: 0000-0002-8703-307X (2003) Wasting sperm: the cultural context of condom use among the Maasai of Northern Tanzania. In: International Union for the Scientific Study of Population Workshop on Taking Stock of the Condom in the Era of HIV/AIDS, 2003-07-13 - 2003-07-17, Gaborone, Botswana. (Submitted)

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This document reports data drawn from a study conducted in September 2002 that investigated the context of HIV/AIDS knowledge and attitudes among rural Tanzanian Maasai men and women. A primary focus of the work was exploration of the cultural context of condom knowledge and use. The study site was Ngorongoro District in rural northern Tanzania. Low levels of condom knowledge were discovered through questionnaire and focus group research. Given the low levels of condom knowledge, the author argues that it is unsurprising that incorrect beliefs about condoms and their efficacy abound. The association of condoms with non-Maasai, or at least, non- ruralites (and thus non-Maasai), was expressed. The "otherness" of HIV and consequent condom use manifests itself in a variety of ways. For example, the highly ritualised nature of Maasai male circumcision results in a strongly held belief that condoms are unsuitable for penises that have undergone a Maasai circumcision. This paper concludes that there is a rationale for the development of culturally-specific HIV/AIDS programmes. This is underscored by the fact that, although human biology is the same everywhere, sexual behaviour in general and condom use in particular are the result of complex socio- cultural values and economic and political conditions, which differ from one society to another and between different groups within a society.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2003 The author
Divisions: Social Policy
LSE Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2012 15:29
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2021 00:08

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