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Women’s Empowerment and HIV Testing Uptake: A Meta-analysis of Demographic and Health Surveys from 33 Sub-Saharan African Countries
Authors: Sanni Yaya, Gebretsadik Shibre, Dina Idriss-Wheeler, and Olalekan A Uthman
Source: International Journal of Maternal and Child Health and AIDS, 9(3): 274–286; DOI: 10.21106/ijma.372
Topic(s): Gender
HIV testing
Women’s empowerment
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: JUL 2020
Abstract: Background: There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that women’s empowerment can help achieve better health behaviours and outcomes. However, few have looked at the impact of women’s empowerment on HIV testing in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This study investigated the association between women’s empowerment and HIV testing among women in 33 countries across SSA. Methods: Cross-sectional data from the most recent Demographic and Health Surveys (2005-2018) of 33 countries in SSA were used. Confounder adjusted logistic regression analysis was completed separately for each of the 33 DHS datasets to produce the adjusted Odds Ratio (OR) for the association between women empowerment and HIV testing. The regression analysis strictly accounted for the three design elements (weight, cluster and strata) to produce an estimate representative of the respective countries. Finally, an Individual Participant Data (IPD) meta-analysis approach was used to statistically pool the effect of women empowerment on HIV testing. Results: There was a wide variation in the percentage of women who were empowered among the countries studied, with only a few countries such as South Africa, Angola and Ghana having a high prevalence of negative attitudes toward wife beating. HIV testing was higher in Angola, Lesotho, Uganda and South Africa. While participation in one or two of the three decisions had been marginally associated with lower odds of HIV testing across the SSA regions (0.89; 95%CI: 0.83, 0.97); the corresponding prediction interval crossed the null. Being involved in the three decisions (0.92; 95%CI: 0.84, 1.00) and disagreement to wife-beating (0.99; 95%CI: 0.94, 1.05) had no statistical relationship with HIV testing uptake. Conclusion and Global Health Implications: The two indirect indicators of women empowerment could not predict HIV testing uptake. Further studies are recommended to establish the nature of the relationship between HIV testing and women’s empowerment that is measured through standard tools. Keywords: HIV/AIDS prevention, Women, Empowerment, Gender equality, Global health, Sub-Saharan Africa