Does Community Ethnic Diversity Slow the Spread of HIV in Uganda?

David Bishai, Johns Hopkins University
George Pariyo, Makerere University
Priya Patil, Johns Hopkins University

This paper assesses the relationship between community ethnic diversity and sexual behaviors that are associated with the spread of HIV. Survey data from 1754 households in 121 Demographic and Health Statistics (DHS) clusters in 12 districts in Uganda in 2001 was merged with data on the number of different languages spoken by households in the DHS sampling frame for each cluster. In monolingual communities, 22% of unmarried and 9% of married respondents reported sex with someone other than a spouse, a fraction which rose to 34% (p<0.01) for unmarried and 15% (p<0.01) for married respondents in polylingual communities. Condom use during non-spousal sex was more frequent in polylingual communities. Multivariate models showed that results were robust to inclusion of measures of cluster size, urbanity, individual wealth, and education. We surmise that higher ethnic diversity may impede the enforcement of conservative standards of sexual conduct.

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Presented in Session 84: Social Determinants of HIV Dynamics