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Male genital hygiene beliefs and practices in Nairobi, Kenya
  1. M S Steele1,
  2. E Bukusi2,3,
  3. C R Cohen4,*,
  4. B A Shell-Duncan5,
  5. K K Holmes6
  1. 1Program for Appropriate Technology and Health (PATH), Seattle, WA, USA
  2. 2Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
  3. 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
  4. 4Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  5. 5Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  6. 6Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 King K Holmes MD PhD
 University of Washington Center for AIDS and STDs, Harborview Medical Center, 325 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104, USA;


Objectives: Attitudes and practices concerning genital hygiene may influence topical microbicide use by men. This study examines knowledge and behaviours related to hygiene, genital hygiene, circumcision and hygiene, and to genital hygiene before and after sex among men in Nairobi, Kenya.

Methods: We conducted 463 interviews of men recruited by respondent driven sampling techniques and 10 focus group discussions with a subsample of 100 volunteers from this group. Men were asked individual quantitative survey and qualitative group discussion questions about general hygiene behaviours, genital hygiene, and the temporal relation of genital hygiene behaviours to sexual encounters.

Results: Bathing once daily was associated with education, income, and inside tap water. Genital washing aside from regular bathing and washing before sex ever were negatively associated with bathroom crowding. Genital hygiene before the most recent sexual encounter was uncommon and negatively associated with HIV risk perception, bathroom crowding, and ethnicity. Men believed genital hygiene before sex would arouse suspicions of infidelity or cool sexual ardour. Genital hygiene after sex was associated with education, religion, and having inside tap water. Genital hygiene after the most recent sexual encounter was associated with age, income, and with men having at least one child.

Conclusions: Genital hygiene behaviours were associated with resource access factors and group discussions suggest that they are modulated by interactions in sexual partnerships. Topical microbicides may improve hygiene before and after sex.

  • BV, bacterial vaginosis
  • FGD, focus group discussions
  • IDI, in-depth interviews
  • STI, sexually transmitted infections
  • genital hygiene
  • STI
  • microbicides
  • men

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  • * Current affiliation: Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.