HIV Seropositivity and Related Factors Among Prisoners in Dire Dawa

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Addis Ababa University


HIV antibody was detected in 27 of 450 prisoners (6.0%), in a crosssectional study carried out in the major prison of Dire DaHa district, in eastern Ethiopia. Syphilis was found to be very common in the prisoners. Overall, 31.6% of the prisoners had a positive VDRL. The rate in prisoners who were HIV positive HaS 63% or 17 out of 27. A concurrent diagnosis of syphilis was strongly associated with HIV seroposi ti vi ty. (Odd's ratio = 4.09 ). Recent admission to prison within the past three months was strongly associated with HIV positivity (Odd's ratio = 3.72); 21 of the 27 HIV positive prisoners had been in prison for less than three months. Factors found important in other studies on prisoners and AIDS, such as homosexuality and intravenous drug use were not found to be features of prisoners in Dire Dawa. Surprisingly, significant associations could not be proved between number of prostitute contacts or number of sexual contacts per month before prison and HIV positivity. Duration of residence in Dire Dawa tOlm, travel outside of Dire Dawa and number of l ong term sex partners before prison, were not found to be associated with HIV seropositivity . Likewise, no statistically significant correlation was found between HIV seropositivity and history of injections, dental extractions or immunizations in the past. Only 8 of the 450 prisoners (1. 6%) were uncircumcised. Al though one of the eight was HIV positive, no relationship was found between the circumcision state and HIV infection. That all 27 HIV positive prisoners had been in prison shorter than 12 months with 21 of them (77.8%) imprisoned for less than three months, suggests that the epidemic in Dire Dawa may be of recent origin. The high prevalence seen in prisoners in Dire Dawa likely reflects infection in the surrounding community, and are a cause for serious concern.



HIV Seropositivity