The role of religion among women in the HIV epidemic in Malawi Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Muula, Adamson
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Epidemiology
  • Background Human immune-deficiency virus (HIV) infection is a major public health problem, with sub-Saharan African being the hardest of the regions of the world. Malawi's adult HIV prevalence is estimated at about 12%. Despite the fact that religion is central in the social life of Malawians and the potential it holds to explain the HIV epidemic in the country, there are limited published reports on the subject. Methods Using two data sources, we assessed the role of religion among women on HIV infection and sexual behaviors. In Aim 1, we assessed if self-reported religious denominational affiliation was associated with HIV infection among Malawian women. In Aim 2 we assessed if religion was associated with acceptability of condom use within marriage. We used logistic regression analysis to assess the role of religion in the HIV epidemic in Malawi. Results A total of 415 women (15.9%; 95% confidence interval [CI] were HIV infected. Overall, with Catholics as the referent, religion was not associated with any differences in HIV infections among survey participants among different religious denominations: adjusted odds ratio (AOR) and 95% confidence interval (CI): Muslims, 0.93 (95%, 0.66-1.31; Presbyterians, 0.79 (95% CI, 0.55-1.14; Seventh-Day Adventist and Seventh-Day Baptists, 0.64 (95%, 0.39-1.05); Anglicans, 1.22 (95% CI, 0.58-2.57) and Other Christians, 0.97 (95% CI, 0.73-1.29). With regard to condom acceptability in marriage, Muslims as the referent, we found that Christians were 1.71 (95% CI, 0.89-3.27) times to accept condom use within marriage. However, compared to Catholics, Presbyterians were less likely to accept condom use, AOR=0.53 (95% CI, 0.32-0.88). Conclusion Overall, these results suggest that religion in Malawi is not able to distinguish HIV prevalence and sexual behaviors.
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  • In Copyright
  • Thomas, James C.
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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