Migration, ethnicity and environment: HIV risk factors for women on the sugar cane plantations of the Dominican Republic

AIDSCAP, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
AIDS (Impact Factor: 6.56). 11/1998; 12(14):1879-87. DOI: 10.1097/00002030-199814000-00020
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To determine risk factors for HIV infection among women living in the sugar cane plantation communities (bateyes) of a large private sugar cane company in the Dominican Republic.
Cross-sectional study of sexually active female volunteers living in the bateyes.
Of 98 bateyes, 23 were randomly selected and visited by a mobile medical unit, to interview, examine and test volunteers for seroreactivity to HIV and syphilis.
The 490 subjects ranged in age from 16 to 72 years (median, 37 years); 53% were born in Haiti, 36% in Dominican Republic bateyes, and 12% elsewhere in the Dominican Republic; 58% had no formal education; and 87% had no income. HIV seropositivity was found in 28 women (5.7%), including 8.8% of those aged < 35 years. By logistic regression analysis, HIV infection was independently associated with age < 35 years [odds ratio (OR), 4.5; P < 0.01), being single with children (OR, 4.3; P < 0.01), more than one lifetime sex partners (OR, 3.4; P = 0.06), engaging in sex during menses (OR, 3.2; P = 0.02), and self-description as a prostitute (OR, 4.4; P = 0.05)1. For Haitian women, those coming to the Dominican Republic alone were more likely to have HIV infection than those coming with a male partner. Less than 4% of women reported condom use at last intercourse.
Women in the bateyes have a much higher rate of HIV infection than that estimated for women in the general population of Dominican Republic and a rate comparable to that of female sex workers in the Dominican Republic. AIDS prevention in the bateyes should address condom education and distribution as well as employment opportunities and education for women.

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