Change in sexual behaviour and decline in HIV infection among young pregnant women in urban Uganda

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Objective:To describe sexual behaviour that may partly explain a decline in HIV seroprevalence in pregnant women in urban settings in Uganda, East Africa.Settings:Two major urban districts in Uganda.Methods:Repeated population-based behavioural surveys in 1989 and 1995, and repeated HIV serological surveys in consecutive pregnant women attending antenatal clinics from 1989 to 1995.Results:During the study period, a 2-year delay in the onset of sexual intercourse among youths aged 15–24 years and a 9% decrease in casual sex in the past year in male youths aged 15–24 years were reported. Men and women reported a 40% and 30% increase in experience of condom use, respectively. In the same study area, over the same period, there was an overall 40% decline in the rates of HIV seroprevalence among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics. It can be hypothesized that the observed declining trends in HIV correspond to a change in sexual behaviour and condom use, especially among youths.Conclusions:This is the first report of a change over a period of 6 years in male and female sexual behaviour, assessed at the population level, that may partly explain the observed decline in HIV seroprevalence in young pregnant women in urban Uganda. This result should encourage AIDS control programmes to pursue their prevention activities.

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