HIV & AIDS||Development Studies
Keep them in School: the Importance of Education as a Protective Factor Against HIV Infection among Young South African Women
Objective To identify risk factors for HIV infection among young women aged
15–24 years reporting one lifetime partner in South Africa.
Design In 2003, we conducted a nationally representative household survey
of sexual behaviour and HIV testing among 11 904 young people
aged 15–24 years in South Africa. This analysis focuses on the
subset of sexually experienced young women with only one
reported lifetime sex partner (n¼1708).
Methods Using the proximate determinants framework and the published
literature we identified factors associated with HIV in young
women. The associations between these factors and HIV infection
were explored in multivariable logistic regression models.
Results Of the young women, 15% reporting one lifetime partner were HIV
positive. In multivariable analyses, young women who had not
completed high school were more likely to be infected with HIV
compared with those that had completed high school (AOR 3.75;
95% CI 1.34–10.46).
Conclusions Young South African women in this population were at high risk of
HIV infection despite reporting only having one lifetime partner.
Few individual level factors were associated with HIV infection,
emphasizing the importance of developing HIV prevention interventions
that address structural and partner level risk factors.
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