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No increased HIV risk in general population near sex work sites: A nationally representative cross‐sectional study in Zimbabwe

Kloek, Mariёlle, Bulstra, Caroline A., Chabata, Sungai T., Fearon, Elizabeth, Taramusi, Isaac, de Vlas, Sake J., Cowan, Frances ORCID: and Hontelez, Jan A. C. (2022) 'No increased HIV risk in general population near sex work sites: A nationally representative cross‐sectional study in Zimbabwe'. Tropical Medicine & International Health, Vol 27, Issue 8, pp. 696-704.

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Objectives: Sex work sites have been hypothesised to be at the root of the observed heterogeneity in HIV prevalence in sub‐Saharan Africa. We determined if proximity to sex work sites is associated with HIV prevalence among the general population in Zimbabwe, a country with one of the highest HIV prevalence in the world. Methods: In this cross‐sectional study we use a unique combination of nationally representative geolocated individual‐level data from 16,121 adults (age 15–49 years) from 400 sample locations and the locations of 55 sex work sites throughout Zimbabwe; covering an estimated 95% of all female sex workers (FSWs). We calculated the shortest distance by road from each survey sample location to the nearest sex work site, for all sites and by type of sex work site, and conducted univariate and multivariate multilevel logistic regressions to determine the association between distance to sex work sites and HIV seropositivity, controlling for age, sex, male circumcision status, number of lifetime sex partners, being a FSW client or being a stable partner of an FSW client. Results: We found no significant association between HIV seroprevalence and proximity to the nearest sex work site among the general population in Zimbabwe, regardless of which type of site is closest (city site adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.010 [95% confidence interval {CI} 0.992–1.028]; economic growth point site aOR 0.982 [95% CI 0.962–1.002]; international site aOR 0.995 [95% CI 0.979–1.012]; seasonal site aOR 0.987 [95% CI 0.968–1.006] and transport site aOR 1.007 [95% CI 0.987–1.028]). Individual‐level indicators of sex work were significantly associated with HIV seropositivity: being an FSW client (aOR 1.445 [95% CI 1.188–1.745]); nine or more partners versus having one to three lifetime partners (aOR 2.072 [95% CI 1.654–2.596]). Conclusions: Sex work sites do not seem to directly affect HIV prevalence among the general population in surrounding areas. Prevention and control interventions for HIV at these locations should primarily focus on sex workers and their clients, with special emphasis on including and retaining mobile sex workers and clients into services.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WC Communicable Diseases > Sexually Transmitted Diseases > WC 140 Sexually transmitted diseases
WC Communicable Diseases > WC 20 Research (General)
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV Infections > WC 503 Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV infections
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: JISC Pubrouter
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2022 13:37
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2023 11:24


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