Background: HIV and other sexually transmitted infections are a growing problem in the military personnel of Africa, and information about this problem in Guinea-Bissau is lacking. The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence and trends of the HIV epidemics in the military forces of Guinea Bissau and to explore possible risk factors for HIV infection.
Methodology: Repeated cross-sectional surveys of HIV-1 and HIV-2 were conducted between 1992 and 2005, and knowledge, sexual behaviour and risk factors for HIV-1 and HIV-2 in military personnel in Guinea-Bissau were assessed.
Results: The seroprevalence of HIV-1, HIV-2 and HIV-1+HIV-2 dual reactivity was 1.1%, 8.4% and 0.1% in 1992-95, and in 2005 7.7%, 5.1% and 1.9%, respectively. Both the increase of HIV-1 and the decline of HIV-2 between 1992-95 and 2005 were significant when adjusted for age (p < 0.001 for both changes). Only a minority did not know how HIV transmits, but sexual risk taking was high. Several significant risk factors were found in univariate analyses for HIV-1 and HIV-2, but the only risk factor that remained significant after multivariate regression analysis was previous contact with a prostitute among HIV-1-positive subjects (single and dually reactive) (p < 0.01).
Conclusion: The increasing trend of HIV-1 and the high risky sexual behavior illustrate the need for improvement in HIV/AIDS prevention efforts among military personnel in Guinea Bissau.