Objectives: To determine prevalence of HIV and HIV-related behaviours in female seasonal farm workers (FSFWs) in two provinces of Souss Massa Draa (SMD) region in Morocco. SMD has a higher burden of HIV compared with other parts of Morocco and is characterised by a substantial aggregation of FSFW.
Methods: We carried out a cross-sectional HIV biobehavioural survey using cluster-based sampling of farms in the provinces Chtouka Aït Baha and Taroudant Ouled Teïma in 2014. HIV testing was done using the Determine HIV-1/2 rapid test and reactive specimens were tested using ELISA and western blot. Collected data were post hoc weighted for region-based stratification and adjusted for clustering effects using complex survey functions of SPSS (V.21).
Results: Among those eligible to participate, the response rate was 92.8%. HIV prevalence was 0.9% (95% CI 0.4% to 2.4%) among 520 recruited participants. A high proportion of respondents (67.7%) had no education. Ever having sex was reported by 79.8% and among these, 12.7% ever exchanged sex for money or goods. Sixty-one per cent reported condom use at most recent commercial vaginal sex in the past 12 months. STI symptom recognition was found to be low because 62.4% and 46.8% of FSFW could not report any STI symptoms in men and women, respectively. Twenty-seven per cent of respondents had an HIV test in the past 12 months. In multivariable analysis, those with primary or higher education (adjusted OR (aOR)=2.38, 95% CI 1.33 to 4.27) and those who participated in an HIV educational session at their workplace (aOR=11.00, 95% CI 3.99 to 30.31) had higher odds of ever been tested for HIV.
Conclusions: Although we found a relatively low HIV prevalence among FSFW in SMD, HIV interventions should be intensified, in particular, in a subgroup of women who are involved in sex work.
Keywords: COMMERCIAL SEX; CONDOMS; HIV; HIV TESTING.
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