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The disproportionate high risk of HIV infection among the urban poor in sub-Saharan Africa

Magadi, Monica A.


Monica A. Magadi


The link between HIV infection and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is rather complex and findings from previous studies remain inconsistent. While some argue that poverty increases vulnerability, existing empirical evidence largely support the view that wealthier men and women have higher prevalence of HIV. In this paper, we examine the association between HIV infection and urban poverty in SSA, paying particular attention to differences in risk factors of HIV infection between the urban poor and non-poor. The study is based on secondary analysis of data from the Demographic and Health Surveys from 20 countries in SSA, conducted during 2003-2008. We apply multilevel logistic regression models, allowing the urban poverty risk factor to vary across countries to establish the extent to which the observed patterns are generalizable across countries in the SSA region. The results reveal that the urban poor in SSA have significantly higher counterparts, despite poverty being associated with a significantlyodds of HIV infection than their urban non-poor lower the gender disparity in HIV infection (i.e. the disproportionate higher risk among women) is amplified among the urban poor. The paper confirms that the public health consequence of urban poverty that has been well documented in previous studies with respect to maternal and child health outcomes does apply to the risk of HIV infection. The positive association between household wealth and HIV prevalence observed in previous studies largely reflects the situation in the rural areas where the majority of the SSA populations reside.


Magadi, M. A. (2013). The disproportionate high risk of HIV infection among the urban poor in sub-Saharan Africa. AIDS and Behavior, 17(5), 1645-1654.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jun 4, 2012
Publication Date Jun 1, 2013
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Aids and behavior
Print ISSN 1090-7165
Electronic ISSN 1573-3254
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 5
Pages 1645-1654
Keywords HIV prevalence; Urban poverty; Sub-Saharan Africa; Demographic and health surveys; Multilevel logistic regression; Gender disparity
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Copy of article first published in AIDS and behavior, 2013, v.17, issue 5


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Copyright Statement
© The Author(s) 2012. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

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