In 2008, the global urban population surpassed the rural population and by 2050 more than 6 billion will be living in urban centres. A growing body of research has reported on poor health outcomes among the urban poor but not much is known about HIV prevalence among this group. A survey of nearly 3000 men and women was conducted in two Nairobi slums in Kenya between 2006 and 2007, where respondents were tested for HIV status. In addition, data from the 2008/2009 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey were used to compare HIV prevalence between slum residents and those living in other urban and rural areas. The results showed strong intra-urban differences. HIV was 12% among slum residents compared with 5% and 6% among non-slum urban and rural residents, respectively. Generally, men had lower HIV prevalence than women although in the slums the gap was narrower. Among women, sexual experience before the age of 15 compared with after 19 years was associated with 62% higher odds of being HIV positive. There was ethnic variation in patterns of HIV infection although the effect depended on the current place of residence.
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