Objective: Specific risk behaviours and practices promote the spread of HIV/AIDS. Identification of those at risk of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection is an important step toward prevention of both vertical and horizontal transmission of HIV. This study sought to identify risk factors for HIV infection in pregnant women attending a rural antenatal clinic in Northern Nigerian.
Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study of pregnant women attending antenatal clinic at a rural mission hospital in Northern Nigeria between June and October 2005 was conducted. Data were collected with a structured questionnaire. HIV screening and confirmation were done for the pregnant women after voluntary counselling.
Results: The study enrolled 350 pregnant women with a mean (± SD) age of 26.8 ± 6.4 years. HIV -infection was not associated with smoking habits in women, alcohol intake in the women or their partners, prior blood transfusion, history of sexually transmitted infection or history of scarification. In multiple logistic regression, HIV infection was independently associated with suspecting their partner of extramarital sex (adjusted odds ratio 3.8, 95% CI 1.6, 9.0), post-primary education (AOR 2.4, 95% CI 1.1, 5.3), multiple sexual partners (AOR 2.4, 95% CI 0.97, 6.2) and cigarette smoking by a partner (AOR 3.0, 95% CI 0.95, 9.4).
Conclusion: Multiple partners and extramarital sex remain a hindrance to the fight against HIV infection. Promoting the ABC approach (abstinence, be faithful, condom) may reduce risky behaviour as it has in other parts of Africa.