Factors associated with HIV infection among sexually experienced adolescents in Africa: a pooled data analysis

  • Stella Babalola


The article examines the factors associated with HIV status among adolescents aged 15–19 years in 13 African countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The data were derived from demographic and  health surveys or AIDS indicator surveys conducted between 2004 and 2009. The  levels of HIV prevalence among adolescents varied considerably across the countries. There was significantly higher HIV prevalence among female adolescents as compared with their male counterparts. For male adolescents, circumcision was the only variable significantly associated with HIV status. Nonetheless, the data suggest that the association between male circumcision and HIV status may be exaggerated. Indeed, regional-level random effects became insignificant once male circumcision was introduced into the estimated models, indicating a strong correlation between unmeasured regional-level factors and male circumcision. For female adolescents, multiple sexual partnerships, time elapsed since sexual debut, marital status, household wealth, and the regional prevalence of male circumcision were strongly and positively associated with HIV status. Moreover, for female adolescents there appear to be significant unmeasured variables operating at the regional level which influence the levels of HIV infection. The implications of the findings for HIV-prevention  programming, policy and research are discussed.

Keywords: circumcision, early sexual debut, HIV/AIDS, models, multiple partnerships, prevalence, proximate determinants framework, random effects, surveillance

African Journal of AIDS Research 2011, 10(4): 403–414

Author Biography

Stella Babalola
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs, 111 Market Place, Suite 310, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, United States

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1608-5906
print ISSN: 1727-9445