Unveiling the silence: women's sexual health and experiences in Nepal

Lauren M. Menger, Michelle R. Kaufman, Jennifer J. Harman, Samantha W. Tsang, Deepti Khati Shrestha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Rising rates of HIV in Nepal signal an impending epidemic. In order to develop culturally appropriate and effective actions and programmes to reduce HIV transmission, it is necessary to understand attitudes, behaviours and norms surrounding sexual networking and safer-sex practices in Nepal. Nepali women are thought to be at increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV, sexual violence and exploitation and other sexual health disparities due to cultural scripts limiting access to education, ability to control sexual relationships and acceptability in discussing sex and sexual health. The present study comprises a series of interviews with 25 women living in Kathmandu (13 individual interviews and 2 focus-group discussions) about their knowledge and experiences related to sex and sexual health. Interviews were translated and transcribed and two independent coders conducted a thematic analysis. Overall, the women described sex as primarily a male domain. Sex and sexual health were viewed as taboo discussion topics and formal sex education was perceived as minimally available and far from comprehensive in its scope. This formative study can inform future interventions aimed at reducing the spread of STIs/HIV in Nepal and empowering women on issues of sexual health and well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-373
Number of pages15
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 16 2015


  • Nepal
  • STIs
  • gender norms
  • sexual health
  • women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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