Predictors of HIV, HIV Risk Perception, and HIV Worry among Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Lilongwe, Malawi

December 2017 - In Focus

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Odoyo-June, E., Agot, K., Grund, J.M., et al. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (October 2017), 12(10), doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185872.

This study in Malawi examined risk factors associated with HIV infection and determined if risk factors were associated with HIV risk perception and worry among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) ages 15–24. Baseline surveys were disseminated among AGYW enrolled in a Girl Power study. Among the 1,000 girls, 33 reported being HIV-positive; 69 percent reported having a negative HIV test within the past six months; 17 percent reported having a negative HIV test over six months earlier; and 14 percent had never been tested. The study identified several factors associated with HIV infection, including having no running water, having sex with three or more partners in the past year, and drinking heavily. Having more HIV risk factors was associated with higher risk perception and worry about HIV. However, many AGYW who had multiple risk factors did not perceive themselves to be at risk for contracting HIV and/or did not worry about contracting HIV. The authors concluded that it is possible to identify those AGYW who are most at risk for HIV by examining HIV-related risk factors. Once identified, these women should be targeted for HIV prevention interventions.

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