Differences in HIV risk behaviors across gender
C. Maxwell, M. Holt-Brockenbrough, N. Retland, C. Shamil, A. Getahun, N. Adoko, A. Abdulahe
Howard University, Washington, DC, United States
Background: Overall, 3% of all residents in the District of Columbia are currently known to be living with HIV/AIDS. It has been observed that HIV-related risk behaviors differ across the population with respect to gender. Heterosexual transmission accounted for the majority of women living with HIV/AIDS infection, 57.8%. Transmission due to injection drug use (IDU) accounted for 14.8% in men and 26.7% in women. Through this study, Howard University Hospital (HUH) seeks to identify if there is an association between gender and risk behavior reporting.
Methods: Free rapid HIV screening was offered to persons older than 18 years of age through the use of an oral rapid HIV-1/2 antibody test throughout HUH. Demographic information was collected from persons screened. Additionally, those screened were asked to identify their own HIV-related risk behaviors. Data for a three-year period were collected and compiled in a database.
Results: Of the 34,480 persons screened for HIV infection, 5,389 (15.6%) reported HIV-related risk behaviors; 3,074 (57.0%) were women and 2,315 (42.9%) men. Women were more likely to report HIV-related risk behaviors than men. The most common risk factor reported across gender was sex without a condom (94.3%). Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) were reported with approximately the same frequency, while the highest number of IDU was reported by men (69.2%).
Conclusions: There is a strong association between gender and the self-identification of risk behaviors (p< 0.05). This suggests an increased need for gender specific HIV risk behavior education.
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