This research plan proposes to conduct a randomized survey to assess sexual behaviors related to HIV transmission and their predictors among several communities of the Maasai Tribe of Tanzania. The HIV epidemic has severely afflicted Tanzania, and the Maasai Tribe may be at uniquely high risk due to sexual practices such as large age gaps between spouses (15-45 years), sexual access to age-mates wives (wife- sharing), sanctioned sex between unmarried warriors aged 15-29 and pre-pubescent girls aged 8-13, and female circumcision. Despite this unique risk profile and the large population of the Maasai tribe (estimates between 1/?-1 million members), no published studies have measured the prevalence of these behaviors among the Maasai. This proposal seeks to determine the prevalence of HIV-related risk factors and their predictors in order to inform design of HIV prevention interventions that's both culturally appropriate and efficacious. To achieve this objective, the research project will adapt measures to create a culturally and linguistically appropriate survey instrument and analyze the results to determine prevalence of sexual practices and predictors of these practices. Additionally, the research project will assess the impact of an experimental procedure designed to increase validity of self-report measures of sexual behavior. The proposed project addresses an area of high priority identified by NIMH Division of AIDS and Health and Behavior Research (DAHBR) in that it seeks to identify individual and social factors that would impact HIV risk reduction. The proposal also addresses an area of emphasis within the DAHBR Research Training and Career Development Program: the goal of promoting global adoption of primary prevention interventions. It addresses this goal by providing a foundation of knowledge that is a necessary first step to providing culturally appropriate and relevant HIV primary prevention programs. This research seeks to conduct of survey of sexual behaviors related to HIV among the Maasai of Tanzania, a group that may be at uniquely high risk for the spread of HIV.

Public Health Relevance

The relevance of this research to public health is that it will provide a foundation of information that will enable the design and provision of effective HIV prevention interventions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-AARR-H (22))
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Stoff, David M
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Emory University
Schools of Public Health
United States
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Siegler, Aaron J; Mbwambo, Jessie K; DiClemente, Ralph J (2013) Applying the Dynamic Social Systems Model to HIV prevention in a rural African context: the Maasai and the esoto dance. Health Educ Behav 40:683-93
Siegler, Aaron J; Mbwambo, Jessie K; DiClemente, Ralph J (2012) Acceptability of medical male circumcision and improved instrument sanitation among a traditionally circumcising group in East Africa. AIDS Behav 16:1846-52
Siegler, Aaron J; Mbwambo, Jessie K; McCarty, Frances A et al. (2012) Condoms ""contain worms"" and ""cause HIV"" in Tanzania: Negative Condom Beliefs Scale development and implications for HIV prevention. Soc Sci Med 75:1685-91