|Prevalence and correlates of comprehensive HIV/AIDS knowledge among adolescent girls and young women aged 15–24?years in Malawi: evidence from the 2015–16 Malawi demographic and health survey|
||Chrispin Mandiwa, Bernadetta Namondwe, and Mtondera Munthali
||BMC Public Health, Volume 21, Article number: 1508; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-11564-4
HIV epidemic remains a major public health issue in Malawi especially among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW). Comprehensive HIV/AIDS knowledge (defined as correct knowledge of two major ways of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV and rejection of three misconceptions about HIV) is a key component of preventing new HIV infections among AGYW. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify the correlates of comprehensive HIV/AIDS knowledge among AGYW in Malawi.
The study was based on cross-sectional data from the 2015–2016 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey. It involved 10,422 AGYW aged 15–24 years. The outcome variable was comprehensive HIV/AIDS knowledge. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, bivariate and multivariable logistic regression model. All the analyses were performed using complex sample analysis procedure of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences to account for complex survey design.
Approximately 42.2% of the study participants had comprehensive HIV/AIDS knowledge. Around 28% of the participants did not know that using condoms consistently can reduce the risk of HIV and 25% of the participants believed that mosquitoes could transmit HIV. Multivariable logistic regression model demonstrated that having higher education (AOR = 2.97, 95% CI: 2.35–3.75), belonging to richest households (AOR = 1.24, 95% CI: 1.05–1.45), being from central region (AOR = 1.65, 95% CI:1.43–1.89), southern region (AOR = 1.65, 95% CI: 1.43–1.90),listening to radio at least once a week (AOR = 1.27, 95% CI: 1.15–1.40) and ever tested for HIV (AOR = 1.88, 95% CI: 1.68–2.09) were significantly correlated with comprehensive HIV/AIDS knowledge.
The findings indicate that comprehensive HIV/AIDS knowledge among AGYW in Malawi is low. Various social-demographic characteristics were significantly correlated with comprehensive HIV/AIDS knowledge in this study. These findings suggest that public health programmes designed to improve comprehensive HIV/AIDS knowledge in Malawi should focus on uneducated young women, those residing in northern region and from poor households. There is also a need to target AGYW who have never tested for HIV with voluntary counselling and testing services. This measure might both improve their comprehensive HIV/AIDS knowledge and awareness of their health status.