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Francesco Vladimiro Segala
Giulia Micheli
Cristina Seguiti
Andrea Pierantozzi
Robert Lukwiya
Benson Odong
Francesco Aloi
Emmanuel Ochola
Roberto Cauda
Katleen De gaetano Donati
Antonella Cingolani


Sexually transmitted infections, Female empowerment, Uganda, HIV


Background and Objectives: HIV infection among vulnerable women (VW) has been attributed to unfavourable power relations and limited access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. Aim of this work is to report sexually-transmitted infections (STI) prevalence and to assess the impact of HIV awareness, demographic and socio-behavioural factors in a rural area of northern Uganda.

Methods: Pe Atye Kena is a longitudinal cohort, intervention study enrolling young women aged 18-49 years old living in the municipality of Gulu, Uganda. HIV, HBV, syphilis serologic tests and electronic comprehensive questionnaire on sexual high-risk behaviours were administered. Statistical analysis was performed by uni- and multivariable regression models.

Results: 461 VW were enrolled (mean age: 29 (SD7.7)). 40 (8.5%) were found to be positive for HIV, 42 (9.1%) for syphilis and 29 (6.3%) for HBV. Older age (> 34 years vs < 24 years; OR 4.95, 95% CI: 1.7 to 14); having done the last HIV test > 12m before the interview (OR 5.21, 95% CI: 2.3 to 11); suspecting the male sexual partner to be HIV+ (OR 2.2; 95% CI: 1.1 to 4.3); not having used condom at first sexual intercourse (OR 2.6; 95% CI 1.3 to 5.15) were all factors associated with an incident HIV diagnosis.

Conclusions: In this cohort, HIV prevalence is high and sexual high-risk behaviors are multifaced; future interventions will be aimed to reduce HIV/STIs misconceptions and to promote a sense of community, self-determination and female empowerment.


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