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The case for expanding the definition of ‘key populations’ to include high-risk groups in the general population to improve targeted HIV prevention efforts

Olive Shisana, Numpumelelo Zungu, Meredith Evans, Kathryn Risher, Thomas Rehle, David Clementano

Abstract


Background. Two additional key populations within the general population in South Africa (SA) that are at risk of HIV infection are black African women aged 20 - 34 years and black African men aged 25 - 49 years.

Objective. To investigate the social determinants of HIV serostatus for these two high-risk populations.

Methods. Data from the 2012 South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence, and Behaviour Survey were analysed for black African women aged 20 - 34 years and black African men aged 25 - 49 years.

Results. Of the 6.4 million people living with HIV in SA in 2012, 1.8 million (28%) were black women aged 20 - 34 years and 1.9 million (30%) black men aged 25 - 49 years. In 2012, they constituted 58% of the total HIV-positive population and 48% of the newly infected population. Low socioeconomic status (SES) was strongly associated (p<0.001) with being HIV-positive among black women aged 20 - 34 years, and was marginally significant among black men aged 25 - 49 years (p<0.1).

Conclusion. Low SES is a critical social determinant for HIV infection among the high-risk groups of black African women aged 20 - 34 years and black African men aged 25 - 49 years. Targeted interventions for these key populations should prioritise socioeconomic empowerment, access to formal housing and services, access to higher education, and broad economic transformation.


Authors' affiliations

Olive Shisana, Human Sciences Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa; Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Numpumelelo Zungu, Human Sciences Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

Meredith Evans, Human Sciences Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

Kathryn Risher, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA

Thomas Rehle, Human Sciences Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa; School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

David Clementano, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA

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Keywords

HIV prevention; High-risk groups; Targeting

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2015;105(8):664-669. DOI:10.7196/SAMJnew.7918

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-12-27
Date published: 2015-09-22

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