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Spatial and Socio-Behavioral Patterns of HIV Prevalence in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Authors: Messina JP, Emch M, Muwonga J, Mwandagalirwa K, Edidi SB, Mama N, Okenge A, Meshnick SR.
Source: Social Science and Medicine, 71(8):1428-35. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.07.025. Epub 2010 Aug 5.
Topic(s): GIS/GPS
Spatial analysis
Country: Africa
  Congo Democratic Republic
Published: JUL 2010
Abstract: This study uses a 2007 population-based household survey to examine the individual and community-level factors that increase an individual's risk for HIV infection in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Using the 2007 DRC Demographic Health Surveillance (DHS) Survey, we use spatial analytical methods to explore sub-regional patterns of HIV infection in the DRC. Geographic coordinates of survey communities are used to map prevalence of HIV infection and explore geographic variables related to HIV risk. Spatial cluster techniques are used to identify hotspots of infection. HIV prevalence is related to individual demographic characteristics and sexual behaviors and community-level factors. We found that the prevalence of HIV within 25 km of an individual's community is an important positive indicator of HIV infection. Distance from a city is negatively associated with HIV infection overall and for women in particular. This study highlights the importance of improved surveillance systems in the DRC and other African countries along with the use of spatial analytical methods to enhance understanding of the determinants of HIV infection and geographic patterns of prevalence, thereby contributing to improved allocation of public health resources in the future.