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Sociology and behaviour of West African blood donors: the impact of religion on human immunodeficiency virus infection

Allain, J.-P., Anokwa, M., Casbard, Angela C., Owusu-Ofori, S. and Dennis-Antwi, J. 2004. Sociology and behaviour of West African blood donors: the impact of religion on human immunodeficiency virus infection. Vox Sanguinis 87 (4) , pp. 233-240. 10.1111/j.1423-0410.2004.00578.x

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Background and Objectives  Ghana is one of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa where the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence in blood donors ranges between 1 and 4%. Considering the social importance of religion and the very high level of religious practice observed in Ghana, the hypothesis that these factors may play a role in containing HIV was tested. Materials and Methods  Consenting HIV-infected candidate blood donors, and two age- and gender-matched seronegative control donors, were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their religious and sexual behaviour. Multivariable conditional logistic regression was used. Results  Irrespective of their HIV status or religion, 95% of the respondents believed that extra-marital sex was a sin, and 79% of those tempted to have an extra-marital affair considered that their religious beliefs helped them to abstain. In the multivariable models, having a formal role in church activities was associated with reduced odds of HIV [odds ratio (OR) = 0·41; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0·21–0·80]. Worshipping at the same location for more than 20 years was associated with a reduced risk (OR = 0·30; 95% CI: 0·08–1·10). In addition to other factors limiting HIV spread, such as male circumcision, relatively high level of education and an absence of armed conflicts in Ghana, the use of condoms conferred a reduced risk. Conclusions  An active role in religion, and reporting a lengthy duration of worship at the same place was beneficial. Collecting blood at places of worship with a strict behavioural code and from donors practicing in the community of their birth might improve blood safety.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR355 Virology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords: HIV; blood donors; religion; West Africa; Ghana
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0042-9007
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:25

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