Magnitude of HIV infection among older people in Mufindi and Babati districts of the Tanzania mainland

Nyigo, Vitus; Kilale, Andrew; Kilima, Stella; Shayo, Elizabeth H.; Senkoro, Kesheni P.; Mshana, Jonathan; Mushi, Adiel K.; Matemba, Lucas; Massaga, Julius
May 2014
HIV/AIDS - Research & Palliative Care;2014, Vol. 6, p75
Academic Journal
Introduction: According to the 2011-2012 HIV and Malaria Indicator Survey, the prevalence of HIV infection in Tanzania is 5.1%, with limited information on its magnitude among older people, as the community believes that the elderly are not at risk. Consequently, little attention is given to the fight against HIV and AIDS in this group. The present study investigated the magnitude of HIV and AIDS infection among older people in rural and urban areas of the Tanzania mainland. Subjects and methods: The study was conducted in Mufindi and Babati districts of Iringa and Manyara regions, respectively, through multistage sampling procedures. Dried blood spot cards were used to collect blood samples for HIV testing among consenting participants. HIV testing was done and retested using different enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits. Results: A total of 720 individuals, 340 (47.2%) males and 380 (52.8%) females, were randomly selected, of whom 714 (99.2%) consented to HIV testing while six (0.8%) refused to donate blood. The age ranged from 50 to 98 years, with a mean age of 64.2 years. Overall, a total of 56 (7.8%) participants were HIV-positive. Females had a higher prevalence (8.3%) than males (7.4%), with Mufindi district recording the higher rate (11.3%) compared to the 3.7% of Babati district. The prevalence was higher in the rural population (9.4%) compared to 6.4% of their urban counterparts. Conclusion: Although HIV/AIDS is considered a disease of individuals aged 15-49 years, the overall prevalence among the older people aged 50 years and above for Mufindi and Babati districts was higher than the national prevalence in the general population. These findings point to the need to consider strengthening interventions targeting older populations against HIV/AIDS in these districts while establishing evidence countrywide to inform policy decisions.


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