Date of Award

Fall 8-27-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Rothenber

Second Advisor

Dr. Laura Salazar

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael St. Louis

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Angolan young women involved in transactional sex are at high risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection due to their exposure to several sexual risk behaviors. This study was designed with three main aims. (1) to examine the differences in HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors between female adolescents and young adults; (2) to assess the associations between sexual partners’ occupation and young women’s HIV serostatus; and (3) to describe the effect of Information-Motivation-Behavior skills model of condom use at last month with non-marital sexual partners among women involved in transactional sex in the Angola-Namibia border.

METHODS: This study used secondary data from the first cross-sectional study on HIV and Syphilis Behavioral and Serological Surveillance Survey (BSS) conducted in 2010 in Cunene province, Angola. Participants were recruited using Respondent-Driven Sampling (RDS). A questionnaire was used to collect data. IBM SPSS was used for the univariate and bivariate analysis. IBM SPSS AMOS was used to assess the IMB model.

RESULTS: A total of 500 participants completed their questionnaires. Among them, 439 (87.8%) provided a blood sample for the HIV testing. The results of the t-test showed statistically significant differences on HIV attitudes and sexual behaviors between adolescents and young adults. In addition, it was found statistically significant associations between HIV positive women and an increased likelihood of being in the ages of 20-24, having had a STD in the past 12 months, residing in Namacunde area, having had two or more partners in the past 12 months, and consuming alcohol before or during sexual intercourse. There was not found statistically significant associations between women’s HIV serostatus and their partner’s occupation. Regarding the IMB model, HIV-related knowledge and perceived risk accounted for 20% of variance on condom use at last month. However, none of the paths was significant.

CONCLUSIONS: Compared to adolescents, young adults seemed to have better knowledge on HIV prevention and transmission, more positive attitudes towards PLWHA, but more risky sexual behavior. This study found statistically significant social, demographic and behavioral factors related to HIV that should be targeted on HIV prevention programs. Further research is warranted to develop preventive interventions on the basis of the IMB model to promote condom use as well as other safer sexual behaviors among women involved in transactional sex in the Angola-Namibia border.

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