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Rural-urban disparities in nutritional status among women in Ethiopia based on HIV serostatus: a cross-sectional study using demographic and health survey data
Authors: Hirut Abebe, Anette Agardh, and Malachi Ochieng Arunda
Source: BMC Infectious Diseases , Volume 23; DOI:
Topic(s): HIV testing
Rural-urban differentials
Country: Africa
Published: AUG 2023
Abstract: Background: Ethiopia is one of the sub-Saharan African countries most affected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic and also by severe undernutrition, which is particularly prevalent among women. HIV infection, reproductive biology, and their role in society increase the vulnerability of women to malnutrition. Various factors including urbanization could cause differences in the nutritional status of rural and urban residents. In this study, we aimed to assess rural-urban disparities in nutritional status among women of reproductive age based on HIV serostatus in Ethiopia. Method Data from the Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) conducted in 2016 were used. Among 15,683 women included in the survey, 8822 non-pregnant women aged 15–49 years, including those who gave birth two months before the DHS survey were included in this study. Multinomial logistic regression was used to determine the relative risk ratios (RRR) for the associations between study variables. Results: Generally, the prevalence of underweight among women of reproductive age was higher in rural residents (28.9%) than in urban residents (12.3%) in Ethiopia. Being overweight was more prevalent among urban women than rural women, (35.1% vs. 4.8%). About 32% of HIV-positive women were underweight in both rural and urban areas. About 29% of HIV-positive urban women were overweight compared to 3.4% of HIV-positive rural women. Among urban residents, HIV-positive women were about 4 times more likely to be underweight than their HIV-negative counterparts, RRR 3.8 (95% CI: 1.58, 9.26). However, there was no significant difference in nutritional status between HIV-positive and HIV-negative women living in rural areas. Anemic women were more likely to be underweight while, wealthy women were less likely to be underweight in both rural and urban areas. Women aged 25–49 years were generally more likely to be overweight/obese and less likely to be underweight compared to younger women aged =24 years. Conclusion: Malnutrition was more prevalent among HIV-positive women living in urban Ethiopia. Targeted nutritional interventions for HIV-positive women of reproductive age living in urban areas could be considered. Furthermore, efforts should be made to improve the nutritional status of women of reproductive age across the country.