Trends in HIV-1 prevalence and risk behaviours over 15 years in a rural population in Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania

Mmbaga,E.J.; Hussain,A.; Leyna,G.H.; Holm-Hansen,C.; Mnyika,K.S.; Sam,N.E.; Klouman,E.; Klepp,K.I. AIDS Res Ther. 2007 Oct 16;4:23
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BACKGROUND: Monitoring dynamics in HIV-1 infection and risk behaviours is important in evaluating, adjusting and scaling up prevention programmes. The objective of this study was to estimate trends in the prevalence of HIV-1 infection and risk behaviours over 15 years in a rural village population in Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania using repeated population-based cross-sectional surveys. METHODS: Four rounds of HIV-1 sero-epidemiological and behavioural surveys were completed during 1991 to 2005 in the study village. House-to-house registrations of people aged 15-44 years with an address in the village were conducted before each survey. All consenting individuals were then interviewed for pertinent risk behaviours and tested for HIV-1 seropositivity. RESULTS: Participation proportions ranged from 73.0% to 79.1%. Overall, age and sex-adjusted HIV-1 prevalence increased from 3.2% in 1991 to 5.6 % in 2005 (relative increase 75.0%; ptrend < 0.001). The increase was significant for both men and women (ptrends < 0.001) and more evident among women aged 35-44 years (2.0% to 13.0%, ptrend < 0.001). Among participants aged 15-24 years a decrease in number of sexual partners was observed with a corresponding stable HIV-1 prevalence. Participants aged 25-44 years continued to report multiple sexual partners, and this was corroborated with increased HIV-1 prevalence trend (4.0% to 9.0%, ptrends < 0.001). Among men aged 25-44 years and women aged 15-24 years significant increases in condom use were observed (ptrend < 0.01). CONCLUSION: The HIV-1 prevalence seems to have increased among older participants but remained stable among younger participants. Encouraging trends toward safer sex practices were observed among young participants, while only modest behavioural changes were seen among the older participants. Prevention efforts in rural areas need to be intensified and to address people of all ages.