Main Article Content
Background: Alcohol consumption, marijuana use, unprotected sex, and multiple concurrent sexual partnerships are prevalent among youth globally. These factors are regarded as important behavioural risk factors for HIV infection. The aim of this study was to assess the sociodemographic and other characteristics associated with behavioural risk factors of HIV infection among male mountain-climbing porters working on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Methods: This cross-sectional study enrolled a representative sample of 384 male mountain-climbing porters from 7 tour companies in the Kilimanjaro region using a multi-stage sampling technique. Local interviewers completed a structured questionnaire with porters in the local language, Kiswahili. The questionnaire covered demographics, alcohol and marijuana use, sexual history, sexual partners, and condom use. In-person interviews were completed between April and May 2013. Univariate and bivariate analysis were used to describe data and determine significant predictors of behavioural risk factors of HIV infection.
Results: Of 384 participants, 381 (99.2%) were sexually experienced, 353 (92.6%) were sexually active, and 168 (44.1%), reported condom use at last sex. The prevalence of ever-use of alcohol was 62%, and 68% of participants reported being current alcohol users. The prevalence of ever-use of marijuana was 15%, and 49% of participants reported being current marijuana users, with 12% reporting daily use. Age, marital status, working duration as a porter, transactional sex practices, and number of concurrent sexual partners were factors that were significantly associated with unprotected sex, alcohol consumption, and marijuana use (P<.05).
Conclusions: Age, marital status, working duration, transactional sex practices, and number of concurrent sexual partners were significantly associated with unprotected sex, alcohol consumption, and marijuana use, among porters in this setting. The findings suggest the need for efforts to motivate sexually active male porters to engage in HIV prevention interventions, including condom use and reduction of multiple concurrent sexual partners, transactional sexual practices, alcohol consumption, and marijuana use.