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Accuracy of HIV risk perception in East Zimbabwe 2003–2013

Schaefer, Robin, Thomas, Ranjeeta, Nyamukapa, Constance, Maswera, Rufurwokuda, Kadzura, Noah and Gregson, Simon (2018) Accuracy of HIV risk perception in East Zimbabwe 2003–2013. AIDS and Behavior. ISSN 1090-7165 (In Press)

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10461-018-2374-0


Risk perception for HIV infection is an important determinant for engaging in HIV prevention behaviour. We investigate the degree to which HIV risk perception is accurate, i.e. corresponds to actual HIV infection risks, in a general-population open-cohort study in Zimbabwe (2003–2013) including 7201 individuals over 31,326 person-years. Risk perception for future infection (no/yes) at the beginning of periods between two surveys was associated with increased risk of HIV infection (Cox regression hazard ratio = 1.38 [1.07–1.79], adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics, sexual behaviour, and partner behaviour). The association was stronger among older people (25+ years). This suggests that HIV risk perception can be accurate but the higher HIV incidence (1.27 per 100 person-years) illustrates that individuals may face barriers to HIV prevention behaviour even when they perceive their risks. Gaps in risk perception are underlined by the high incidence among those not perceiving a risk (0.96%), low risk perception even among those reporting potentially risky sexual behaviour, and, particularly, lack of accuracy of risk perception among young people. Innovative interventions are needed to improve accuracy of risk perception but barriers to HIV prevention behaviours need to be addressed too, which may relate to the partner, community, or structural factors.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Authors
Divisions: Health Policy
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Sets: Departments > Health Policy
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2019 16:06
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2019 06:59
Projects: 084401/Z/07/B
Funders: Wellcome Trust Programme Grant

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