Date of Defense:
May 14th, 2010
Objective: The national prevalence of HIV/AIDS in India has reached a plateau in recent years, yet the incident rate of HIV among women continues to increase. It is believed that this trend is an outcome of gender-related social hierarchies which place women in a position of diminished power. Although a multitude of factors influence this burden among women, the distribution of HIV/AIDS by factors of educational attainment and geography remains unclear. Thus the aim of this research is to examine the distribution of HIV/AIDS among women of reproductive age in India over categorical factors of educational attainment and geography, in order to gain a better understanding of the potential risk factors that can be addressed in public health efforts.
Methods: Data obtained from the 2006 India National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) was analyzed using SAS 9.2.
Results: Logistic regression analysis illustrates that increased educational attainment is a protective factor against HIV/AIDS, with a statistically significant decrease in odds for HIV/AIDS as educational attainment increases. While geographic location did not provide a significant correlation with the disease burden distribution, further analyses demonstrated that marital status was also a significant risk factor for women
Conclusions: These findings suggest that public health efforts must empower women to take control of their well-being and gain independence. A means to accomplish this is through educational attainment and thus financial and social freedom. Thus efforts must be made to encourage women to remain in school and strive for higher levels of educational attainment.