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Socioeconomic status and HIV infection among women in Kenya

Eunice Muthengi, University of California, Los Angeles

Previous studies examining the effect of socioeconomic status on HIV in Africa have produced mixed, and sometimes contradictory results. This study looks at independent effects of education attainment and household wealth on HIV infection among women in Kenya. The sample includes 3,118 women tested for HIV in the 2003 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey. Education was positively associated with HIV infection for women in rural areas, and negatively associated with HIV for women in urban areas. However, the effect was not statistically significant after controlling for wealth. Wealth had a significant, positive association with HIV infection even after controlling for education. An interaction between wealth and ethnic group was only significant for Kalenjin women, indicating that greater wealth increased their odds of infection as compared to Kikuyu women. The results suggest that wealth and education have different effects on HIV risk, although the effect of wealth is more salient.

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Presented in Session 32: Demographic determinants and consequences of HIV and AIDS