Using data from the 2003 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, we investigated the influence of individual- and community-level factors on accepting attitudes toward people living with HIV (PHLIV) using three outcomes: willingness to care for an infected household member, willingness to buy vegetables from an infected vendor, and willingness to allow an infected female teacher to continue teaching. Multilevel logistic regression models, with individuals at the first level and community variables at the second level, were performed. We found that males were more likely than females to have higher social acceptance attitudes toward PLHIV. Respondents who were older, had higher education, had high knowledge of AIDS, knew someone with HIV or someone who had died of AIDS, or who were exposed to mass media expressed greater acceptance of PLHIV. The percentage of the total variance that was explained by the community of residence ranged between 14 percent and 23 percent among females and between 14 percent and 32 percent among males across all three outcomes. At the community level, differences in accepting was attitudes were associated with community AIDS knowledge, community education, and community AIDS experience, but not with region or place of residence. The findings suggest that community level factors play a significant role in determining social acceptance of PLHIV. Programmatic strategies aimed at increasing accepting attitudes toward PLHIV should take into consideration both individual- and community-level factors.
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