The Role of Partners' Educational Attainment in the Association between HIV and Education amongst Women in Seven Sub-Saharan African Countries

April 2016 - Structural Prevention

April 2016 Prevention Update (PDF, 493.26 KB)
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Harling, G., and Bärnighausen, T. Journal of the International AIDS Society (February 2016), 19(1): 20038, doi: 10.7448/IAS.19.1.20038.

The authors analyzed data from 14 Demographic and Health Surveys from seven sub-Saharan African countries with generalized HIV epidemics, investigating whether educational parity between partners was associated with HIV serostatus in women aged 15–34. Findings showed that partners tended to have similar attainments in both urban and rural areas of every survey. This correlation was not associated with HIV prevalence; however, there was a small but significant individual-level association between educational differences within relationships and women’s likelihood of being HIV-positive. Women aged 25–34 with secondary or higher education and a more educated partner had lower HIV prevalence. Overall, in all surveys, each person's educational level was associated with a specific level of risk of HIV infection, with risk rising among those with only primary education. In almost all countries, the relative odds of HIV infection fell for more educated individuals. Educational attainment and HIV prevalence varied widely across survey countries. The authors concluded that efforts to locate HIV-positive or at-risk women should consider not only the women's own characteristics but also those of their sexual partners.

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