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BMC Public Health. 2008 Jul 2;8:226. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-8-226.

Prevalence and pattern of HIV-related malnutrition among women in sub-Saharan Africa: a meta-analysis of demographic health surveys.

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  • 1Center for Evidence-Based Global Health, Save the Youth Initiative, Nigeria.



The world's highest HIV infection rates are found in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where adult prevalence in most countries exceeds 25%. Food shortages and malnutrition have combined with HIV/AIDS to bring some countries to the brink of crisis. The aim of this study was to describe prevalence of malnutrition among HIV-infected women and variations across socioeconomic status using data from 11 countries in SSA.


This study uses meta-analytic procedures to synthesize the results of most recent data sets available from Demographic and Health Surveys of 11 countries in SSA. Pooled prevalence estimates and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using random-and fixed-effects models. Subgroup and leave-one-country-out sensitivity analyses were also carried out.


Pooling the prevalence estimates of HIV-related malnutrition yielded an overall prevalence of 10.3% (95% CI 7.4% to 14.1%) with no statistically significant heterogeneity (I2 = 0.0%, p = .903). The prevalence estimates decreased with increasing wealth index and education attainment. The pooled prevalence of HIV-related malnutrition was higher among women residing in rural areas than among women residing in urban areas; and lower among women that were professionally employed than unemployed or women in agricultural or manual work.


Prevalence of HIV-related malnutrition among women varies by wealth status, education attainment, occupation, and type of residence (rural/urban). The observed socioeconomic disparities can help provide more information about population subgroups in particular need and high risk groups, which may in turn lead to the development and implementation of more effective intervention programs.

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