Misconceptions about HIV infection in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo): a Case-control Study on knowledge, attitudes and practices
HIV Infection
HIV Seropositivity
HIV transmission
Health knowledge
Sexual behaviour
Democratic Republic of the Congo
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Carlos S, Martínez-González MA, Burgueño E, López del Burgo C, Ruiz-Canela M, Ndarabu A, Labarga P, Tshilolo L, Tshiswaka P, de Irala J. Misconceptions about HIV infection in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo): a case-control study on knowledge, attitudes and practices. Sexually Transmitted Infections 2014;0:1-4. Doi: 10.1136/sexstrans-2014-051734.
Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of HIV-related misconceptions in an Outpatient Centre of Kinshasa (D.R.Congo) and analyze the association between these beliefs and HIV infection. Methods: A case-control study was carried out from December 2010 until June 2012. We assessed 1,630 participants aged 15-49 attending a primary outpatient centre in Kinshasa: 762 HIV Voluntary Counseling and Testing attendees and 868 blood donors. A 59-item questionnaire about knowledge, attitudes and practice was administered during a face-to-face interview, followed by an HIV test. Cases and controls were respondents with a newly diagnosed HIV positive or negative test, respectively. Unconditional logistic regression was used to analyse the association between misconceptions and HIV seropositivity. Results:Two hundred and seventy four cases and 1,340 controls were recruited. Cases were more likely than controls to have a low socioeconomic status, no education, to be divorced/separated or widowed. An association was found between the following variables and HIV-seropositivity: having a poor HIV knowledge (adjusted OR=2.79; 95%CI:1.43-5.45), not knowing a virus is the cause of AIDS (adjusted OR=2.03; 95%CI:1.38-2.98) and reporting more than three HIV-transmission-related misconceptions (adjusted OR=3.30; 95%CI:1.64-6.64), such as thinking an HIV+ person cannot look healthy and that HIV is transmitted by sorcery, God´s punishment, a kiss on the mouth, mosquitoes, coughs/sneezes or undercooked food. Conclusion:Despite having access to health care services, there are still many people in Kinshasa that have HIV-related misconceptions which increase their HIV risk. Our findings underscore the need for a culturally-adapted and gender-orientated basic HIV information into Congolese HIV prevention programs.

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