Maasai Education Poverty HIV/Aids Water FGM HumanRights/ GoodGovernance Cultural Citizenship Gender Issues






HIV/AIDS is worldwide pandemic and has drawn multinational efforts to control it. Tanzania on its part has declared HIV/AIDS as a national disaster and has called upon stakeholders to participate in one way or another in the fight against the pandemic. The Simanjiro District in collaboration with stakeholders in the District intents to develop interventions to combat the epidemic. However, prior to the development of the interventions, the district therefore conducted a study to assess Knowledge, Attitude, Practice and Behavior (KAPB) towards HIV/AIDS and other Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STD) to guide development of evidence-based interventions.



The overall objective of the study was to assess the KAPB towards HIV/AIDS in order to develop practical and cost effective interventions against the epidemic. Specifically the study aimed at:

·        Identifying KAPB of different communities in the Simanjiro District

·        Determining perceptions and cultural factors that prevent behavior change or accelerate HIV transmission

·        Listening other risk factors that could fuel HIV transmission

·        Using results of the study to develop sustainable community-based HIV/AIDS/STD interventions



Both qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques were employed in the course of data collection to fulfill the study’s data needs. A total of 609 individuals participated in the study including 523 who participated the questionnaire interviews, nine heads of departments and NGOs.


Status of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in the District

  • STDs was one of the important subjects of the study and was addressed to varied participants of the study

  • From DMO’s (District Medical Officer) records, in 2003 alone, the district’s health facilities saw 820 STDs cases (508 males and 312 females)

  • Eighteen separate cases of Syphilis (13 females, 5 males) were also reported during the same reference period

  • 10% thought there was no such a disease in their area and 15% were unaware

  •  The problem is rampant in Simanjiro District but how much do people know about STDs?

  • This question was addressed through a number of questions to the participants of the structured interviews

  • Participants were asked to name any STDs they knew. They named gonorrhoea (75%), Syphilis (57%), HIV/AIDS (46%), chancroid (7%) and clamydia (0,8%). The rest could not mention a clearly known STD (17%).

  • Some could name STDs but not symptoms and vice versa. Nevertheless, 39 % mentioned one symptom, 27% mentioned two while 10% and 5% mentioned three and four respectively.

  • Up to 76% said STDs could be treated against 15% who thought they could not be treated. About 9% could not comment.


Status of HIV/AIDS in the District

HIV prevalence in Simanjiro is 0,3% and in 2003 alone there were 411 new cases of HIV infections. In addition seven reported AIDS cases and 4 deaths associated with HIV/AIDS were also reported during the year.

Factors fuelling HIV transmission in the district were mentioned. The factors have been categorized into three groups i.e.

  • Traditional

  • Occupational/economic

  • Bahavioural

Key informants also mentioned the following factors

  • Poor knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS

  • Poor communication in the district

  • Through the constructed questionnaire, numbers were attached to these factors

  • The most important traditional factors were “esoto” (51%) (Maasai word for informal meetings of boys and girls during the night, singing and gathering together)

  • Sharing of unsterilised blades during circumcision (28%)

  • Polygamy (17%) and sharing women among peers (13%)


Impact of HIV/AIDS epidemic

  • HIV/AIDS is already having a devastating effect in Simanjiro area

  • Increased mortality (66%)

  • Increased orphan hood (30%)

  • Loss of professional

  • Too many resources spent on care and support of AIDS patients (6%) and increased widowhood (3%)



  • Immediate preventive, care and support actions should be launched in Simanjiro District

  • Sexually tailored Maasai traditions should be one of the focuses of the program in the district. This should be done through existing structure within the Maasai traditions (age sets)

  • Involvements of community members in drawing up intervention activities is crucial for ownership and sustainability reasons

  • Limited resources available in the district should be spent cautiously/effectively to realize maximum output

  • The district need to be given a capacity building to be able to develop participatory and multisectoral HIV/AIDS Action Plan Map

  • Consideration should be made to form a district NGOs Forum to bring together all HIV/AIDS activists

  • In order to have realistic and reliable HIV/AIDS records, the district needs to develop a clear and credible HIV monitoring system

  • STDs management services should be strengthen across the district and proper counseling  should be extended to the patients