Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Ike Okosun MS, MPH, PhD, FRSPH

Second Advisor

Sharyl Strasser, PhD

Abstract

Introduction

Haiti has the highest prevalence of HIV infection in Latina America and the Caribbean. The country faces the worst AIDS epidemic outside Africa and bears the greatest burden of HIV in the western hemisphere. Studies in the past recent years show that HIV/AIDS is most likely to be seen in developed countries. People with low education level and appropriate knowledge about STD’s are more susceptible to get HIV. Lifestyle behaviors represent significant factors in HIV transmission. Understandings these lifestyle factors are therefore critical in reversing the increasing prevalence of HIV/AIDS. The purpose of this investigation is to determine the influence of factors such as demographic, lifestyle, HIV knowledge and misconceptions on HIV transmission.

Statistical analysis

For this study, we use SPSS (PAWS Statistics 18). The prevalence of HIV-AIDS via HIV status was determined across socio-demographic variables, respondents’ knowledge and misconception regarding HIV/AIDS, STDs awareness and lifestyle. The distribution of categorical variables across levels of dependent variable was analyzed using chi-square tests. All Analyses were stratified across HIV status. The distribution of categorical variables by levels of HIV/AIDS status was determined using one-way analysis of variance. Chi-square analysis was done to determine the distribution of independents across status of dependent variable. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to determine the association between selected life style factors and HIV/AIDS. Odds ratios from the logistic regression analyses were used to estimate the risks of HIV/AIDS that were associated with life style factors. In all analysis, P< .05 was used to determine statistical significance among variables. Stepwise analysis was performed to evaluate the most significant variables that are associated with HIV.

Results

Among demographic variables, only age was reported having negative significant contribution in HIV status. The other variables, including residence, education, marital status, economic status and gender were not significantly associated with increased odds of HIV transmission. Significant association was observed for HIV status and respondents “who have ever been tested for HIV”. Odd ratio analysis for people who think “avoiding prostitutes” show significant association with HIV status (7%) compared to those who do not; Variables referring to respondents who think “having only one sex partner” and “Limited number of partners” as a way to protect themselves from getting HIV were negatively associated increased risk of HIV. Those who think HIV/AIDS is by witchcraft ware more likely to have positive HIV status. Stepwise analysis for our significant variables from multivariate logistic regression show that only variables referring to young respondents and those who think they can get AIDS by witchcraft are the most significant for a positive HIV status.

Discussion

Recent epidemiologic data show that the HIV infection in Haiti is mostly concentrated among youth. Young Haitians lack of sexual education and awareness, and misconceptions are the main drivers of HIV risks. To avert the increasing epidemic of HIV/AIDS in Haiti, public health efforts must concentrate in youth education. Such education must emphasize sexual behaviors, lifestyle issues and attitudes. Demystifying the widely held view that HIV is due to witchcraft may also help in reversing the ongoing epidemics of HIV/AIDS in Haiti.

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