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Prevalence of risk factors for human immunodeficiency virus among women of reproductive age in Sierra Leone: a 2019 nationwide survey
Authors: Joseph Kawuki, Kassim Kamara, Quraish Sserwanja
Source: BMC Infectious Diseases , DOI: 10.1186/s12879-022-07037-7
Topic(s): HIV/AIDS
Women's health
Country: Africa
  Sierra Leone
Published: JAN 2022
Abstract: Background and aim: For over 40 years of the HIV/AIDS global epidemic, no effective cure nor vaccine is yet available, making the current control strategies focused on curbing new infections through risk reduction. The study aimed to determine the prevalence of HIV risk factors and their associated socio-demographics among women of reproductive age in Sierra Leone. Methods: We used weighted data from the Sierra Leone Demographic and Health Survey (SLDHS) of 2019 for 12,005 women aged 15-49 years. Multistage sampling was used to select study participants. Exposure to HIV risk factors was considered if a woman reported at least one of the following; having multiple sexual partners, transactional sex, non-condom use for the unmarried, and having other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We, then, conducted multivariable logistic regression to explore the associated socio-demographics. All the analyses were done using SPSS (version 25). Results: Of the 12,005 women, 38.1% (4577/12005) (95% confidence interval (CI) 37.3-39.0) had at least one of the four risk factors. Women of 15 to 19 years (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.34, 95% CI 1.00-1.80) and 20 to 34 years (AOR = 1.25, 95% CI 1.05-1.49) had more odds of having HIV risk factors compared to those of 35 to 49 years. Urban residents (AOR = 1.49, 95% CI 1.17-1.89) and those from the Northwestern region (AOR = 1.81, 95% CI 1.26-2.60) were also more likely to encounter HIV risk factors compared to their respective counterparts. Moreover, unmarried women (AOR = 111.17, 95% CI 87.55-141.18) and those working (AOR = 1.38, 95% CI 1.14-1.67) also had higher odds of having HIV risk factors, compared to their respective counterparts. Sex of household head and parity were also significant associates. Conclusions: More than a third of women in Sierra Leone had encountered at least one HIV risk factor, and this was associated with age, place of residence, region, marital status, working status, household head and parity. There is a need for strengthening HIV/AIDS education programs, laws and policies targeting the young, working, unmarried and urban-resident women.