Population-Based Study of Food Insecurity and HIV Transmission Risk Behaviors and Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Infections among Linked Couples in Nepal

February 2015 - Structural Prevention

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Tsai, A. C., Weiser, S. D. AIDS and Behavior (November 2014), Volume 18, Issue 11, pp. 2187-2197.

The authors used nationally representative data on 2,322 linked couples (men and women in the same household) from the 2011 Demographic and Health Survey in Nepal to assess how food insecurity may affect HIV transmission risk behaviors or symptoms of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as recent condom use, consistent condom use, and self-reports of an abnormal genital discharge or genital sore or ulcer within the previous 12 months. Bivariate analysis showed that women in severe, mild, or moderate food insecurity categories had statistically significant associations with self-reported abnormal vaginal discharge and vaginal sores or ulcers. However, only women in severely food-insecure households were less likely to report recent condom use and consistent condom use compared to those in mildly or moderately food-insecure households. Among men, none of the food insecurity categories had a statistically significant association with any of the outcomes under study. The study showed that women and men are differently affected by food insecurity, as evidenced by higher HIV transmission risk behaviors and symptoms of STIs among women, but not men, in food-insecure households. The authors concluded that interventions to improve food insecurity can contribute to reduced HIV and STI transmission among women in Nepal.

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