Socio-demographic risk factors for HIV infection in women living in Mangaung, Free State
Objective: To determine socio-demographic risk factors associated with HIV infection in women in Mangaung. Design and setting: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Mangaung, Bloemfontein. Subjects and methods: A representative group of 500 black women (25–44 years) was randomly selected to participate. Socio-demographic data were determined with a structured questionnaire and compared between HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women. Results: After screening for eligibility, 488 women qualified. Sixty-one per cent of the younger women (25–34 years) and 38% of the older women (35–44 years) were HIV infected. It is possible that healthy women would be more likely to be working and were not included. HIV-infected women had been living significantly longer in urban areas (p = 0.0001 for both age groups) than HIV-uninfected women. Significantly more HIV-infected younger women than their HIV-uninfected counterparts snuffed tobacco (p = 0.002). Significantly more HIVuninfected older women than HIV-infected older women were married or traditionally married (p = 0.010). Significantly more HIV-uninfected (p = 0.012 for younger and p = 0.002 for older) women than HIV-infected women reported a husband-headed household. Significantly more of the HIV-uninfected older women (p = 0.018) than the HIV-infected older women had no formal schooling or only primary school education. Unemployment ranged between 64.7 and 78.3%. Median room density between HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women did not differ significantly. Conclusions: Unemployment and low levels of education were commonly reported. A self-headed household, urbanisation and being unmarried appeared to be possible risk factors for HIV infection.
Keywords: South Africa; HIV; black women; socio-demographic status