Objective: To determine the prevalence of HIV-1 infection and to identify the most important risk factors for infection.
Design: A cross-sectional population survey carried out in 1990 and 1991 in Mwanza Region, Tanzania.
Methods: Adults aged 15-54 years were selected from the region (population, 2 million) by stratified random cluster sampling: 2434 from 20 rural villages, 1157 from 20 roadside settlements and 1554 from 20 urban wards. Risk factor information was obtained from interviews. All sera were tested for HIV-1 antibodies using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); sera non-negative on ELISA were also tested by Western blot.
Results: The response rate was 81%. HIV-1 infection was 1.5 times more common in women than in men; 2.5% of the adult population in rural villages, 7.3% in roadside settlements and 11.8% in town were infected. HIV-1 infection occurred mostly in women aged 15-34 years and men aged 25-44 years. It was associated with being separated or widowed, multiple sex partners, presence of syphilis antibodies, history of genital discharge or genital ulcer, travel to Mwanza town, and receiving injections during the previous 12 months, but not with male circumcision.
Conclusion: This study confirms that HIV-1 infection in this region in East Africa is more common in women than in men. The results are consistent with the spread of HIV-1 infection along the main roads. There is no evidence that lack of circumcision is a risk factor in this population.
(C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.