The association of HIV status with rural-urban differences in wealth in Malawi: 2004–2015/16

Emmanuel M. Ngui, Peninnah M. Kako, Anne Dressel, L. Mkandawire-Valhmu, Rebekah J. Walker, K. W. Gondwe, Heather L. Prigmore, Leonard E. Egede

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This retrospective cross-sectional study examined the association of HIV status with wealth in Malawi using the 2004, 2010, and 2015/16 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey (MDHS) data. A harmonized wealth index was generated using factor analysis of the pooled data. Bivariate and multivariate linear regression models were estimated to examine the association of HIV status with wealth stratified by urban and rural communities in Malawi. The sample consisted of 33,484 individuals(3,419 were HIV positive and 30,065 HIV-negative). While only 52% of the participants were female, women constituted 61% of those who were HIV positive. Findings showed a positive association between HIV status and wealth in rural but not in urban locations. In rural locations, HIV status was significantly associated with increased wealth (β=0.11; 0.07, 0.15), whereas having more children in the household (β=−0.02; −0.03, −0.02) and being employed (β=−0.07; −0.09, −0.04) were associated with decreased wealth. Given our findings of increased HIV prevalence among those with a higher wealth index in rural Malawi, broadening HIV-prevention efforts to include programs that target the wealthy in Malawi might help mitigate new HIV infections. To effectively address HIV in Malawi, HIV programming policies must target women and men at all socioeconomic status levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1451-1457
Number of pages7
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

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