Factors Associated with Problem Drinking among Women Employed in Food and Recreational Facilities in Northern Tanzania

Aika S. Mongi, Kathy Baisley, Trong Thanh-Hoang Ao, Joseph Chilongani, Aura Aguirre-Andreasen, Suzanna C. Francis, John Shao, Richard Hayes, Saidi Kapiga
Publication year: 

Background: There is growing evidence that alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk of HIV infection. To determine factors associated with problem drinking, we analyzed data collected in two prospective cohorts of at-risk female food and recreational facility workers in northern Tanzania.

Methods: We enrolled HIV seronegative women aged 18–44 years and employed in the towns of Geita, Kahama, Moshi, and Shinyanga. At enrolment, women were interviewed to obtain information about alcohol use, using CAGE and AUDIT screening scales, and risk factors for HIV infection. Blood and genital samples were collected for detection of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We characterized alcohol use, concordance, and agreement of the scales, and examined the associations between characteristics of participants and problem drinking as defined by both scales using logistic regression. Lastly, we assessed problem drinking as a risk factor for recent sexual behavior and prevalent STIs.

Results: Among enrollees, 68% women reported ever drinking alcohol; of these 76% reported drinking alcohol in the past 12 months. The prevalence of problem drinking was 20% using CAGE and 13% using AUDIT. Overall concordance between the scales was 75.0% with a Kappa statistic of 0.58. After adjusting for age, independent factors associated with problem drinking, on both scales, were marital status, occupation, facility type, increasing number of lifetime sexual partners, and transactional sex in the past 12 months. In addition, women who were problem drinkers on either scale were more likely to report having ≥1 sexual partner (CAGE: aOR = 1.56, 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.10–2.23; AUDIT: aOR = 2.00, 95% CI: 1.34–3.00) and transactional sex (CAGE: aOR = 1.79, 95% CI: 1.26–2.56; AUDIT: aOR = 1.51, 95% CI: 1.04–2.18), in the past 3 months.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that interventions to reduce problem drinking in this population may reduce high-risk sexual behaviors and contribute in lowering the risk of HIV infection.