Association of testosterone levels with socio-demographic characteristics in a sample of Ugandan men
Background: Testosterone, a male reproductive hormone, affects several physiological processes, such as sperm production, energy, strength, sexual behavior, sleep and the general well being of men. Normal levels of testosterone are necessary to effect these physiological processes. The objective of this study was to study the association between testosterone levels in a sample of Ugandan men with socio-demographic characteristics, and compare the testosterone levels of Ugandan men with that of men in other countries.
Methods: Eighty men were enrolled from the medical campus at Makerere University. Blood samples were drawn from 7.00 – 8.00 a.m. and total testosterone was measured using radioimmunoassay. The free and bioavailable testosterone was calculated after measuring sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and albumin in the blood samples. Self-administered questionnaires were used to obtain socio-demographic characteristics of the subjects. Biometric measurements including weight, height and waist circumference were also recorded.
Results: Serum testosterone levels of Ugandan men were within the normal physiological ranges. Married participants and those with dependents had lower testosterone than unmarried participants and those without dependents respectively. Sexually active participants had lower testosterone levels than those who were not sexually active.
Conclusion: Testosterone levels were lower in association with several socio-demographic characteristics including being married, having dependents, and daily coital frequency. Further research is warranted into the relationship between testosterone levels and contributory sexual behavior that may be important in understanding the spread of HIV/AIDS, given its high prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa.
Key Words: Testosterone, Socio-demographic Factors, Ugandan Men