BMC public health 2016 08 1716(1) 812 doi 10.1186/s12889-016-3512-0
Globally, women share an indiscriminate burden of the HIV epidemic and the associated socioeconomic consequences. Previous studies have demonstrated a positive correlation between levels of HIV knowledge with its prevalence. However, for Bangladesh such evidence is non-existent. In this study, we aimed to explore the extent of HIV knowledge in relation to the socio-demographic variables such as age, region, area of residence i.e., urban or rural, wealth index and education, and investigate the factors influencing the level of HIV knowledge among Bangladeshi women.
We used data from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) survey conducted in 2011. In total 12,512 women ageing between 15 and 49 ever hearing about HIV regardless of HIV status were selected for this study. HIV knowledge level was estimated by analyzing respondents’ answers to a set of 11 basic questions indicative of general awareness and mode of transmission. Descriptive statistics, cross-tabulation and multinominal logistic regression were performed for data analysis.
Little over half the respondents had good knowledge regarding HIV transmission risks. The mean HIV knowledge score was -0.001 (SD 0.914). Average correct response rate about mode of transmission was higher than for general awareness. Educational level of women and sex of household head were found to be significantly associated with HIV knowledge in the high score group. Those with no education, primary education or secondary education were less likely to be in the high score group for HIV knowledge when compared with those with higher than secondary level of education. Similarly those with male as household head were less likely to be in the higher score group for HIV knowledge.
Level of HIV knowledge among Bangladeshi women is quite low, and the limiting factors are rooted in various demographic and household characteristics. Education and sex of the household head have been found to be significantly correlated with the level of HIV knowledge and propound sound grounds for their incorporation in the future HIV prevention strategies. Education of women may also have wider ramifications allowing reduction in gender inequality, which in turn favors higher knowledge about HIV.