Objectives: Many Haitian adolescents and youth are highly vulnerable to HIV infection. It was important to define the risk factors of the young people who are already seeking care.
Methods: Among 3391 sexually active 13- to 25-year-olds in our Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) Center in Port-au-Prince from October 2005 to September 2006, we assessed associations between demographic and behavioral factors and HIV status using multivariable logistic regression analyses.
Results: We diagnosed HIV infection in 6.3% of 2533 females and 5.5% of 858 males. Age-specific prevalence was 3.4% for 13- to 15-year-olds, 4.7% for 16-19, and 6.8% for 20-25 (P = 0.02). Poor education, not residing with parents, currently or formerly married, having a child, and being self-referred or referred by others VCT services were significant predictors of HIV in females. HIV infection was associated with considering oneself at higher risk, although most youth did not recognize this risk. HIV in females was also associated with suspected/confirmed sexually transmitted infection, especially genital ulcers (ORadj = 2.28, 95% confidence interval: 1.26 to 4.13), years of sexual activity (Ptrend = 0.07), and suspicion that partners had other partners or an sexually transmitted infection. Among males, HIV was associated with drug use (though uncommon) and sexual debut with a casual/unknown person (ORadj = 3.18, 95% confidence interval: 1.58 to 6.42). HIV-infected young people were more likely to be rapid plasma reagin positive and less likely to use condoms.
Conclusion: Young Haitians are a key target for HIV prevention and care and avail themselves readily of youth-focused VCT services.