Background: Uganda's first AIDS case was reported in a fishing village. Thereafter, due to varying risk factors, the epidemic spread heterogeneously to all regions, with some populations more affected. Given the recent rising trends in HIV infection in Uganda, it is crucial to know the risk factors in different populations. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors of HIV infection among fishing communities.
Methodology: A cross-sectional survey of 46 fishing communities was conducted in 2010. Following written consent, 911 randomly selected respondents age 15-59 years were interviewed and gave blood for HIV testing. HIV testing was conducted in the field and central laboratory according to national algorithm. Survey protocol was approved by the Science and Ethics Committee of Uganda Virus Research Institute, and cleared by Uganda National Council for Science and Technology. Data was captured by EPIINFO and statistical analysis done in SPSS.
Findings: Overall HIV prevalence was 22%; there was no difference by sex (x (2) test, p>0.05). Association with HIV infection was determined by x (2) test, p<0.5. Never married respondents had lower HIV prevalence (6.2%) than the ever married (24.1%). HIV prevalence was lower in younger respondents, age 15-24 years (10.8%) than in age group 25 years and above (26.1%). Muslims had lower HIV prevalence (14.4%) than Christians (25.2%). HIV prevalence was higher among respondents reporting 3 or more lifetime sexual partners (25.3%) than in those reporting less numbers (10.8%). HIV prevalence was higher among uncircumcised men (27%) than in circumcised men (11%). Multivariate analysis identified 4 risk factors for HIV infection; age, religion, ever condom use and number of lifetime sexual partners.
Conclusions: HIV prevalence in the surveyed communities was three times higher than of general population. This underscores the need for tailor made HIV combination prevention interventions targeting fishing communities.