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Women’s property rights abuses in Nyanza and Western Provinces, Kenya: An examination of this critical structural driver of HIV risks

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
4:00 AM
4448 East Hall

Shari L. Dworkin, Ph.D., M.S., Associate Professor and Vice Chair, University of California at San Francisco

Despite the fact that statutory law protects women’s right to own land, this right is frequently violated. Access to and ownership of land may decrease women’s primary and secondary HIV transmission. In preparation for a structural intervention that integrates HIV prevention and property ownership, the current study sought to understand the mechanisms through which ownership and control of property may work to reduce women’s HIV risks. The current work draws on in-depth interview data collected from 50 individuals involved in the development and implementation of a community-led land and property rights program in rural Kenya. The program was designed to respond to property rights violations, prevent disinheritance and asset stripping, and reduce HIV risk among women. The study focuses on two rural districts in Nyanza and Western Provinces, where HIV prevalence is high (23.8-33%) and property rights violations are common. Results focus on the economic, cultural, and social mechanisms through which property rights violations exacerbate HIV and disrupt HIV care and treatment. In the conclusions, I focus on the steps that are needed to bolster the science base through structural HIV prevention strategies focused on women’s property rights and land ownership.