Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Rothenberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Monica Swahn



The purpose of this analysis was to identify social, behavioral and cultural factors associated with HIV infection among the Luo people residing on the southern part of Kenya and Somali in the Eastern part of Kenya. Previous studies have linked higher prevalence of HIV in the Luo community to cultural practice such as widow inheritance, and lack of circumcision among men. Analysis was conducted to determine the difference cultural and behavior practice between the Luo and Somali using Kenya demographic health survey (DHS) data, collected between 2008 and 2009, and used statistical computing Software program(SAS) for analysis.


There were 6906 participants in this survey, 3023 were males and 3811 females. The minimum age was 15 and the maximum age was 54. About 73% of the Luo were Christian and 25% were Catholic, compared to the Somali who were 99% Muslim. 98% of Somali were circumcised and 99% of the Luo were not circumcised. About 60% of the Luo used condoms compared to the 25% of Somali. Multivariate analysis comparing Luo and Somali showed the Luo were at high risk of getting HIV infection compared to Somali adjusted odds ratio (OR= 13.34;95% Cl 2.19 – 81.11).


Different risk factors were contributing to higher prevalence of HIV among the Luo community. This study was an observation study, hence the cultural and behavior difference observed cannot be used to established causality due to study design limitation. This study finding can be used to develop future study examining the cultural and behavioral risk factors associated with HIV transmission in Africa.