Vulnerability of Young Mothers to HIV/AIDS: The Case of Kassena-Nankana District of Northern Ghana

Fabian S. Achana, Navrongo Health Research Centre
Cornelius Y. Debpuur, Navrongo Health Research Centre
Patricia Akweongo, Navrongo Health Research Centre
Martine Collumbien, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

This paper explores the personal and social context of sexual activity among young mothers and their husbands in the Kassena-Nankana district of Northern Ghana and how traditional sexual culture may influence exposure to HIV/AIDS. We adopted a qualitative design that used repeated semi-structured interviews with mothers in their early twenties to mid thirties and also with men married to young mothers and group interviews with mother in-laws. The QSR Nvivo qualitative software was used to organize and manage the data for analysis. Young mothers in this study setting are confronted with complex realities making protective sexual intercourse less optional. However, more assertive women are defying existing cultural sexual norms that regulate sexual activity in marriage and insist husbands use condom where they perceive themselves at risk of HIV infection. The results suggest that risk; both perceived and real, vests power in women to demand safe sexual conduct from men.

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Presented in Poster Session 3