Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is one of the greatest threats to stability and development in Kenya. The country's infection rate is estimated between seven and eight percent, making it one of the highest in the world. Several studies have been done that examine subpopulations such as truck drivers, sex workers, and migrants. However, to date there is little research that examines who, across the country, is contracting HIV. Kenya's 2003 Demographic and Health Survey includes data that make it possible to determine which groups have the highest odds of being infected. The question of who is contracting HIV in Kenya was examined using a structural violence framework. Proponents of the theory suggest that those marginalized for social or economic reasons in any society are at the highest risk of contracting infectious diseases. Because marginalization occurs in different spheres and to different degrees for men and women, only women were included in the analysis. Logistic regression was used in analyzing the data, with HIV status entered as the dependent variable. While a few of the hypotheses suggested by structural violence were supported by the data, the theory did not provide an adequate explanation for who is contracting the disease. However, the findings do have practical implications regarding who to target when trying to slow the spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.


Epidemiology | Public Health | Sociology