HIV testing and associated factors among male long-distance truck drivers in Zambia.

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Mutale, Lwito Salifya
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The University of Zambia
Globally, truckers have been reported to have an important role in the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Evidence on uptake of HIV testing among this key population is not well established. We examined factors associated with HIV testing among male long-distance truck drivers (LDTDs) since HIV testing has been found to be an integral part of the preventive strategies. A cross sectional study was conducted among male LDTDs using secondary data from the 2015 Behavioral Surveillance Survey (BSS). The BSS was carried out in 5 of the 10 Corridors of Hope (COH) III project sites (Livingstone/Kazungula, Solwezi, Kapiri Mposhi, Chipata and Chirundu). The study recruited LDTDs from truck depots, border sites, Zambia Revenue Authority offices and those parked along the road. Face-to-face structured interviews were used to collect data on socio-demographic characteristics, HIV testing, HIV risk behaviors and knowledge towards HIV/AIDS. Multivariable logistic regression was done to improve predictive power and control for confounders. A total of 1,406 male LDTDs were included in the study, with age range 18-70 and mean age of 21 (± 0.2). Over 80% reported being currently married and living with spouse while 94% reported having only one wife. Uptake for ever having tested for HIV among LDTDs was 83%, while 39% were circumcised. Positive predictors for HIV testing included circumcision for health and hygiene (AOR 2.30, 95%CI 1.23-4.28), having prevention of genital infections (AOR 3.29, 95%CI 1.34-8.10) reasons. Other positive predictors were never having drank alcohol (AOR 1.75, 95%CI 1.16-2.65) and not having a relative or friend who was infected or died of HIV (AOR 1.63, 95%CI 1.07-2.47), while having more than three wives (AOR 0.41, 95%CI 0.25-0.67) was a negative risk factor for HIV testing uptake. Personal reasons for circumcision such as hygiene and infection prevention were strong drivers for HIV testing. These findings suggest the need to implement more focused interventions and messages on health and hygiene and prevention of genital infections to increase circumcision and uptake of HIV testing among LDTDs. Additionally, there is need to improve services targeting LDTDs, especially those who are less health-conscious.
Thesis of Master of Science in Epidemiology