HIV infection as an occupational health problem among minibus and taxi drivers in Lusaka urban : prevalence and risk factors associated with HIV infection

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Siulapwa, Yoram K.
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This is a descriptive cross-sectional study designed to investigate HIV prevalence and risk factors associated with HIV infection among minibus and taxi drivers (MBTDs) in Lusaka urban. The study was conducted at three main bus stations situated at town centre through which nearly all bus routes in Lusaka are directly connected and at University Teaching Hospital bus station. The most influential MBTDs were selected to assist in recruiting other drivers for the study. Respondents were then made to voluntarily sign a consent form to participate in the study, and thereafter answered a structured questionnaire with both open-ended and closed-ended questions. Each respondent was then given a number, written on the request form, which he took to University Teaching Hospital (UTH) Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) Centre, requesting to be HIV tested. The recruitment of respondents was therefore done through self-selection and voluntary participation (Convenient Sampling). Respondents were paid K15,000 as transport and loss of business allowance which was incurred when participating in the study. As no female minibus and taxi drivers were present in the study group, they were not included in this study. All respondents were counselled before the test and before being told their HIV status. Blood was collected by venipuncture using vacutainers and tested for HIV-1 antibodies by using Bio-Rad Genie II HIV-l/HIV-2 test kit and any presence of antibodies to HIV-1 in the tested specimen was confirmed by using the Abbott Determine™ HIV-1/2 confirmatory assay Collection, counselling, testing and management of data was carried out according to Research Ethics Committee requirements of Universsity of Zambia (UNZA). The data was analysed using Epi-info software version 6.3 for socio-demographic factors, sexual behavioral practices, perception of risk of HIV infection, reported sexually transmitted infections (STI) and STI preventive and treatment seeking behaviors associated with HIV infection. The study established HIV prevalence rate of 33.4% for MBTDs in Lusaka. The study also showed that there was no significant association between residence (p = 0.690), education (p = 0.655), or mobility (p = 835) of respondents and HIV infection. Those who were married were however found to be 1,12 (0.32, 3.95) times more likely to be HIV infected than those who were single, widowed or divorced. Those who had lived in Lusaka for more than 10 years tended to be HIV positive (p = 001). Religious devoutness showed different levels of association with HIV infection. There was no significant association between respondents who reported attended church (p = 0.860) or were baptized (p = 0.463) and HIV infection. However, there was significant association between being born again and HIV infection (p = 0.015). The born agains were found to be 3.59 (1.61, 8.00) times more likely to be HIV infected than those who were not born again. Absence of circumcision was a crucial factor in the spread of HIV infection among respondents as those who were not circumcised tended to be HIV positive (p = 0.025). Drivers who gave free rides to women some of whom became sexual partners and having sex with non-cohabiting partners during the last 12 months preceding to the study had no significant association with HIV infection. However there was significant association between condom use and HIV infection (p = 0.013). Respondents who used a condom at last sexual act tended to be HIV negative than positive. The study also establshed that majority of responednts (81.3%) drank alcohol and 47.3% partook uninjected drugs. Drinking of alcohol and visiting pubs daily was a cofactor to HIV infection (p = 0.041). Those who did so were found to be 2.24 (1.21, 4.13) times more likely to be HIV infected than those who drank alcohol and visited pubs less frequently. Uptake of un-injected drugs was not significantly associated with HIV infection (p = 0.449). Perception of risk of HIV infection among the workgroup was found to be very poor because 86.6% of those who did not use a condom during the last sexual act did so because they trusted their sexual partner, some of whon were non-cohabiting. In addition, of the 21.2% of respondents who perceived they had no risk of HIV infection, 21.7% were found to be HIV positive Repondents who reported having had an STI during the last 12 months tended to be HIV positive than negative (p = 0.001) and majority of them (67.2%) visited a traditional healer for advice or treatment. In addition, those who were infected and sought advice and treatment from a doctor, hospital or clinic were found to be 3.53 (1.90, 6.57) times more likely to be HIV infected than those who sought advice or treatment from a traditional healer. Interventions which are tailored and targeted at self-efficay through promotion! of positive behavioural practices and interpersonal support for safer sex have been formulated and included in the study.
HIV (Viruses) -- Zambia , HIV infections -- Lusaka , Bus drivers -- Lusaka , Taxi drivers -- Lusaka