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Health Policy Plan. 2014 Oct;29(7):938-49. doi: 10.1093/heapol/czt075. Epub 2013 Dec 17.

What lies behind gender inequalities in HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan African countries: evidence from Kenya, Lesotho and Tanzania.

Author information

1
Institute for Health and Social Policy, McGill University, 1130 Pine Avenue West, Montréal, QC, H3A 1A3, Canada, Department of Demography, Université de Montréal, 3150 rue Jean-Brillant, Montréal, QC, H3C 3J7, Canada, École Nationale D'adminstration Publique, 4750 avenue Henri-Julien, 5e étage, Montréal, QC, H2T 3E5, Canada and Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, McGill University, 1020 Pine Avenue West, Montréal, QC, H3A 1A2, Canada drissa.sia@mail.mcgill.ca.
2
Institute for Health and Social Policy, McGill University, 1130 Pine Avenue West, Montréal, QC, H3A 1A3, Canada, Department of Demography, Université de Montréal, 3150 rue Jean-Brillant, Montréal, QC, H3C 3J7, Canada, École Nationale D'adminstration Publique, 4750 avenue Henri-Julien, 5e étage, Montréal, QC, H2T 3E5, Canada and Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, McGill University, 1020 Pine Avenue West, Montréal, QC, H3A 1A2, Canada.

Abstract

Within sub-Saharan Africa, women are disproportionately at risk for acquiring and having human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It is important to clarify whether gender inequalities in HIV prevalence in this region are explained by differences in the distributions of HIV risk factors, differences in the effects of these risk factors or some combination of both. We used an extension of the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition approach to explain gender inequalities in HIV/AIDS in Kenya, Lesotho and Tanzania using data from the demographic and health and AIDS indicator surveys. After adjusting for covariates using Poisson regression models, female gender was associated with a higher prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Kenya [prevalence ratio (PR) = 1.73, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.33, 2.23 in 2003] and Lesotho (PR = 1.39, 95% CI = 1.20, 1.62 in 2004/05), but not in Tanzania. Decomposition analyses demonstrated two distinct patterns over time. In Tanzania, the gender inequality in HIV/AIDS was explained by differences in the distributions of HIV risk factors between men and women. In contrast, in Kenya and Lesotho, this inequality was partly explained by differences in the effects across men and women of measured HIV/AIDS risk factors, including socio-demographic characteristics (age and marital status) and sexual behaviours (age at first sex); these results imply that gender inequalities in HIV/AIDS would persist in Kenya and Lesotho even if men and women had similar distributions of HIV risk factors. The production of gender inequalities may vary across countries, with inequalities attributable to the unequal distribution of risk factors among men and women in some countries and the differential effect of these factors between groups in others. These different patterns have important implications for policies to reduce gender inequalities in HIV/AIDS.

KEYWORDS:

HIV; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; gender; inequalities; sub-Saharan Africa

PMID:
24345343
PMCID:
PMC4186212
DOI:
10.1093/heapol/czt075
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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