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Caste- and Ethnicity-based Inequalities in HIV/AIDS-related Knowledge Gap: A Case of Nepal
Authors: Madhu Atteraya, HeeJin Kimm, and In Han Song
Source: Health & Social Work, Advance Access published February 19, 2015; doi: 10.1093/hsw/hlv010
Topic(s): Ethnicity
Country: Asia
Published: FEB 2015
Abstract: Caste- and ethnicity-based inequalities are major obstacles to achieving health equity. The authors investigated whether there is any association between caste- and ethnicity-based inequalities and HIV-related knowledge within caste and ethnic populations. They used the 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, a nationally represented cross-sectional study data set. The study sample consisted of 11,273 women between 15 and 49 years of age. Univariate and logistic regression models were used to examine the relationship between caste- and ethnicity-based inequalities and HIV-related knowledge. The study sample was divided into high Hindu caste (47.9 percent), “untouchable” caste (18.4 percent), and indigenous populations (33.7 percent). Within the study sample, the high-caste population was found to have the greatest knowledge of the means by which HIV is prevented and transmitted. After controlling for socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, untouchables were the least knowledgeable. The odds ratio for incomplete knowledge about transmission among indigenous populations was 1.27 times higher than that for high Hindu castes, but there was no significant difference in knowledge of preventive measures. The findings suggest the existence of a prevailing HIV knowledge gap. This in turn suggests that appropriate steps need to be implemented to convey complete knowledge to underprivileged populations. KEY WORDS: castes; ethnicity; HIV/AIDS; knowledge; Nepal