Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-5wvtr Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-19T07:13:35.199Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

HIV/AIDS KNOWLEDGE, WOMEN’S EDUCATION, EPIDEMIC SEVERITY AND PROTECTIVE SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR IN LOW- AND MIDDLE-INCOME COUNTRIES

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 2007

DANA SNELLING
Affiliation:
Offord Centre for Child Studies and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, Hamilton, Canada
D. WALTER RASUGU OMARIBA
Affiliation:
Offord Centre for Child Studies and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, Hamilton, Canada
SUNGJIN HONG
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA
KATHOLIKI GEORGIADES
Affiliation:
Offord Centre for Child Studies and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, Hamilton, Canada
YVONNE RACINE
Affiliation:
Offord Centre for Child Studies and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, Hamilton, Canada
MICHAEL H. BOYLE
Affiliation:
Offord Centre for Child Studies and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, Hamilton, Canada

Summary.

A fundamental public health strategy to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS is to increase levels of awareness and knowledge about the disease. Although knowledge about HIV/AIDS and protective sexual behaviour are linked theoretically, relatively little is known about their empirical relationship. Using Demographic and Health Survey data from 23 low- and middle-income countries, this study used multilevel logistic regression models: to examine cross-national variability in the relationship between HIV/AIDS knowledge and protective behaviour (condom use and restricted sex); to investigate the moderating influences of women’s educational attainment on this relationship; and to test the extent to which severity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic accounts for cross-national variability in the association between HIV/AIDS knowledge and protective behaviour. There was an association between increased knowledge of HIV/AIDS and condom use that varied in strength and form cross-nationally. This cross-national variation was accounted for partially by the socioeconomic characteristics of women resident in the study countries and between-country differences in the severity of the HIV epidemic. While education modified the association between HIV/AIDS knowledge and protective behaviour – stronger associations at lower levels of education – epidemic severity exerted a stronger influence on behaviour than any other characteristic. Finally, this study indicates that protective sexual practices are disturbingly low. In eight of 23 countries, overall levels of condom use to prevent STDs and HIV/AIDS were less than 5·0%. Waiting for the spread of HIV/AIDS infection to change sexual practices in low- and middle-income countries will result in dramatic unnecessary suffering.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)