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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) rates are high in Uganda (6.7%), and rates are especially high among at-risk groups such as youth living in the slums of Kampala, Uganda. The objective of this study was to assess the psychosocial correlates, particularly alcohol use, associated with HIV among youth living in the slums of Kampala, Uganda.
Analyses are based on cross-sectional survey data collected in Spring of 2014. Participants comprised a convenience sample (N = 1134) of urban service-seeking youth living on the streets or in the slums, 12–18 years of age who were participating in a Uganda Youth Development Link drop-in center (56.1% female and 43.9% male). Chi-Square Tests were used to determine differences in the proportions of alcohol use patterns between self-reported HIV-positive and HIV-negative youth. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression were conducted to determine the associated risk factors with self-reported HIV. Institutional Review Board approvals were obtained from the Georgia State University and the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology.
Among the total sample of youth (N = 1103), 10.5% (n = 116) reported being HIV-positive. There were statistically significant differences between HIV-positive and HIV-negative youth on ever living on the streets (χ2 =10.14, df = 1, p = 0.002), past 12-month alcohol use (χ2 =16.38, df = 1, p < .0001), ever having sexual intercourse (χ2 =14.52, df = 1, p = 0.0001), ever engaging in sex work (χ2 =13.19, df = 1, p = 0.0003), inconsistent condom use in the past 3 months (χ2 =5.03, df = 1, p = 0.03), and ever being raped (χ2 =15.29, df = 1, p < 0.0001). A higher percentage of HIV-positive youth were classified as problem drinkers, defined by the CAGE scores (21.6% vs. 13.9%, respectively). In the multivariable analysis, previously being raped (OR: 1.70; 95% CI: 1.02, 2.83) and alcohol use without problem drinking (OR: 2.14; 95% CI: 1.24, 3.69) was associated with HIV.
Youth living in the slums of Kampala, Uganda have a high prevalence of HIV. These youth are in dire need of interventions which address both alcohol use behaviors and sexual risk behaviors to reduce further complications of their existing health conditions, including HIV.