Assessment of behavioural risk factors associated with HIV infection among youth in Moshi rural district, Tanzania

East Afr Med J. 1998 Sep;75(9):528-32.


To determine behavioural risk factors associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) seropositivity among 1104 youth aged 15-24 years we conducted a cross-sectional survey in Moshi rural district in northern Tanzania. Information was obtained about sociodemographic characteristics as well as sexual and reproductive health behaviour. Anonymous blood samples were taken for HIV testing. Positive HIV antibodies were determined and confirmed by two Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISA). Of 1104 youth interviewed, 91% (1003) consented for blood specimen taking. Seven out of ten youth volunteered to have had sexual intercourse at least once in their lifetime; 60% reported to consume alcohol and 50% of the sexually experienced females reported to have received a gift for their sexual encounter. The overall HIV seroprevalence was 7.5% (75/1003); females compared to males were twice as likely to be HIV positive, 9.7% and 5% respectively. Behavioural risk factors associated with HIV seropositivity were different in male compared to female youth. Among male subjects, cigarette smoking, ever use of marijuana and having a past history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) were significant risk factors associated with increased risk of HIV seropositivity. On the other hand, in females, those with a past or current history of STDs, those who volunteered that they practiced oral sex and subjects with four or more lifetime sexual partners were more likely to be HIV positive than subjects without a history of an STD, those with single sexual partner or had never practiced oral sex. A four fold increased risk of HIV seropositivity was also observed among female subjects with a history of blood transfusion in the previous 10 years compared to having received none, the Odds ratio was 4.1 (95% CI = 1.5, 11.1). The profile of risk behaviour associated with HIV seropositivity calls for an urgent need to target health information and education interventions to bring about a change in behaviour among the youth and hopefully help to reduce the rate of transmission of HIV infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / etiology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Seroprevalence*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Rural Health*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tanzania / epidemiology