Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 93–102 | Cite as

Pathways and Barriers to Condom Use Among Ariaal Agro-pastoralists of Northern Kenya

  • Eric Abella RothEmail author
  • Elizabeth N. Ngugi
  • Mikael Jansson


Recent sexual behavior surveys in the Ariaal community of Karare, Marsabit District, northern Kenya, indicate a rapid increase in male condom use among unmarried men and women. Increased condom use stems from the Kenyan government’s expanding HIV/AIDS programs to the remote parts of northern Kenya, resulting in easier access to condoms. This paper employs a modified reasoned action approach model to analyze 2009 survey data to understand how Ariaal sexual culture adapts to this policy. Univariate analysis indicates that for unmarried men and women, condom use is more strongly linked to pre-marital fertility prevention than HIV/AIDS protection, reflecting the long-standing Ariaal proscriptive norm against pre-marital fertility. Multiple regression and path analysis show gender-specific pathways to condom use, reflecting established and emergent sexual behavior. For women, significant pathways include the ability to obtain condoms and to refuse sex without condoms. For men, social norms and beliefs/attitudes including concern for their sexual partners are important pathways.


Condoms Reasoned action approach Pre-marital sexuality Kenya 



This research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (410-2006-1084). As always, our deepest gratitude goes to the people of Karare, who took us into their homes, expressed sincere interest in our project, and answered our questions with grace, intelligence, and humor.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Abella Roth
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elizabeth N. Ngugi
    • 2
  • Mikael Jansson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of VictoriaBCCanada
  2. 2.Department of Community HealthUniversity of NairobiNairobiKenya
  3. 3.Center for Addictions Research of British ColumbiaBCCanada

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