Social determinants for HIV prevalence among South African educators

OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): N.Zungu-Dirwayi, O.Shisana, J.Louw, P.Dana
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 4961
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/5714

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HIV prevalence among women in South Africa continues to be high despite the availability of a comprehensive plan for the control of HIV/AIDS and a plethora of prevention programmes. Any explanation for the ongoing high HIV prevalence continues to be elusive. The objective of this study was to understand the relationship between HIV, gender, race and socioeconomic status among South African public sector educators in order to inform prevention programmes. A cross-sectional survey involving a probability sample of 1,766 schools out of 26,713 in the Department of Education Register of School Needs was selected. A sample of 24,200 respondents out of 356,749 public sector educators participated in the study. Nurses registered with the South African Nursing Council were recruited, trained to conduct interviews and to collect specimens for HIV testing. The study found an association between HIV, gender, race and socioeconomic status among educators. African educators showed a higher HIV prevalence than other race groups. Among females, the highest HIV prevalence was among educators aged 25-35 years and in males aged 36-49 years. Further, educators with a high income and educational qualifications had a lower HIV prevalence compared to educators with low income and low educational qualifications, regardless of sex. Migration and marital factors were also found to play a role in HIV infection. The results suggest that HIV prevention needs to take into account critical issues around empowerment of vulnerable groups such as women and certain race groups to be able to implement safe sexual practices and therefore reduce HIV infections.