Risky sexual behaviours and HIV infection among commercial farm workers in South Africa

Published In: Journal of Public Health in Africa (JPHiA)
Article Link: https://www.publichealthinafrica.org/index.php/jphia/article/view/1229
Author(s): Idris Durojaiye, Nkechi Obisie-Nmehielle and Latifat Ibisomi

Transactional sex and high level of HIV infection among commercial farm workers in South Africa
Photo Illustration: Transactional sex and high level of HIV infection among commercial farm workers in South Africa
Photo Credit
: Newscableng

This study was conducted through the collaborative efforts of Dr. Idris Durojaiye (School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa), Dr. Nkechi Obisie-Nmehielle (International Organization for Migration, Pretoria, South Africa), and Dr. Latifat Ibisomi (School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos, Nigeria). The study was aimed at examining the association between transactional sex and HIV infection among commercial farm workers in South Africa.

The researchers noted that high prevalence of HIV infection has been reported among commercial farm workers in South Africa, but studies of the role of transactional sex in this epidemic is limited. The researchers employed a cross-sectional secondary data analysis of the Integrated Biological and Behavioural Surveillance Survey by the International Organization of Migration among farm workers in Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces, South Africa in 2010.

The study included 2,758 sexually active farm workers. The outcome variable was HIV infection while the main explanatory variable was engagement in transactional sex. Other explanatory variables were sex, age, marital status, number of sex partners, food security, recent history of sexually transmitted infection, condom use at last sex with non-regular partner, history of sexual violence and migration status.

Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were carried-out by the researchers to obtain unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios of the association between transactional sex and HIV infection.

The study results showed that engagement in transactional sex was common (19%) among farmers but not significantly associated with HIV infection (OR 1.1; CI 0.57-2.44). Female sex (1.93; 1.60-2.32), age 25 to 44 years, recent STI (OR 1.37; CI 1.18-1.58) and sexual violence (OR 1.39; CI 1.19-1.63) were significant risk factors for HIV infection.

The researchers thereafter concluded that risky sexual behaviours were common among the farm workers population. Therefore, HIV prevention interventions should include behavioural change communication. And improved access to healthcare for STI and HIV treatment should be made available to take care of those already infected.

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