According to a report published in the International Journal of Health Policy and Management, misconceptions about the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among women in low- and middle-income countries have led to a negative stigma towards those with HIV or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Researchers, led by Jahar Bhowmik, surveyed the overall knowledge, transmission, and misconception about HIV/AIDS among women in Bangladesh and found that, in general, women living in peripheral districts far from metropolitan centers were the most unaware of HIV and had greater misconceptions about AIDS.

The study used data from the 2019 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), which comprised a sample of 64,346 women. The population-based survey of Bangladeshi women (15–49 years of age) used a multistage, cluster sampling technique. The primary variables assessed were knowledge about HIV/AIDS, knowledge about HIV/AIDS transmission, and knowledge about HIV/AIDS myths and misconceptions, as well as 10 predictors based on previous reports. Binary logistic regression models were used to examine the association between the outcome variables and predictors.

According to the report, the percentage of women who had knowledge about HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS transmission, and HIV/AIDS misconceptions were, on average, 60.3%, 52.2%, and 71.7%, respectively. Moreover, the authors observed that women regularly exposed to media were 79% (odds ratio [OR] = 1.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.70–1.89), 18% (OR = 1.18; 95% CI, 1.10–1.26), and 19% (OR = 1.19; 95% CI, 1.11–1.27) more likely to have heard about HIV, be aware of HIV transmission, and hold less misconceptions about HIV, respectively, compared to those unexposed to media.

The authors felt their findings indicated that policy makers and program implementors should focus on raising awareness and educating women about how HIV/AIDS is transmitted. Moreover, they recommended that “interventions should be made by targeting the most disadvantaged groups,” and should “integrate cultural and ethnic considerations of HIV/AIDS.”

Source: International Journal of Health Policy and Management