Sex Ratios of HIV Prevalence: Evidence from the DHS

Sara Hertog, United Nations

Amid growing concern of a ‘feminizing’ global HIV/AIDS pandemic, new nationally representative HIV seroprevalence studies from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) make possible for the first time an assessment of variation in the sex ratios of HIV prevalence. This paper analyzes variation in the female-to-male ratios of HIV prevalence estimated in 16 recent DHS from Africa. Results confirm that while in the context of generalized epidemics, women tend to have higher HIV prevalence than men, prevalence sex ratios vary widely across countries, reflecting highly disparate burdens of disease by gender in some populations. Prevalence sex ratios are associated with several commonly identified correlates of HIV prevalence, such as the prevalence of other sexually transmitted diseases and summary measures of socio-economic status, inter alia. However, multivariate models explain very little of the variation in prevalence sex ratios observed across regions in the 16 DHS surveys.

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Presented in Session 51: The Demography of HIV/AIDS