Marital Status and HIV Prevalence in Nigeria: Implications for Effective Prevention Programmes for Women


Objective: Until recently, HIV prevalence has been based on estimates from antenatal sentinel surveys which have been found to overestimate HIV prevalence among the general population. Multiple studies have shown women to be disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS epidemic. Design: Data for this study were based on the first Nigerian population household-based HIV biomarker survey of 2007, which used a multi-stage probability sampling technique. Methods: Respondents were selected through probability sampling (male age 15 - 64 years and female 15 - 49 years). This paper, therefore, examined the correlates of marital status and HIV prevalence among women in Nigeria. Results: A descriptive analysis of the data showed that HIV prevalence of women that were formerly married: divorced, separated or widowed were more than double that of those who were currently married/cohabiting with a sexual partner; and more than three times those that were never married. Bivariate and multivariate levels of analysis were explored in this paper. At bivariate level, findings showed a significant difference in HIV prevalence among women according to their marital status (p < 0.0001), educational attainment (p = 0.004) and geo-political zones (p = 0.003). Respondents that were formerly married were 5.6 times as likely to be infected with HIV compared with those who had never married (OR = 5.6, p < 0.0001) while HIV prevalence increased with higher educational attainment. Conclusion: In view of these findings, HIV programmers should design interventions that will improve economic empowerment as well as social security for women that were formerly married. In addition, gender mainstreaming in the ongoing HIV and AIDS preventive efforts should be strengthened and scaled-up.

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S. Adebayo, R. Olukolade, O. Idogho, J. Anyanti and A. Ankomah, "Marital Status and HIV Prevalence in Nigeria: Implications for Effective Prevention Programmes for Women," Advances in Infectious Diseases, Vol. 3 No. 3, 2013, pp. 210-218. doi: 10.4236/aid.2013.33031.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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