Prevalence of sexually transmitted infections including HIV in street-connected adolescents in western Kenya

Winston, S. E., Chirchir, A. K., Muthoni, L. N., Ayuku, D., Koech, J., Nyandiko, W., … & Braitstein, P. (2015). Prevalence of sexually transmitted infections including HIV in street-connected adolescents in western Kenya. Sexually transmitted infections91(5), 353-359.

ABSTRACT: The objectives of this study were to characterise the sexual health of street-connected adolescents in Eldoret, Kenya, analyse gender disparity of risks, estimate the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and identify factors associated with STIs. A cross-sectional study of street-connected adolescents ages 12–21 years was conducted in Eldoret, Kenya. Participants were interviewed and screened for Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis, herpes simplex virus-2, syphilis and HIV. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to identify factors associated with having any STI. Of the 200 participants, 81 (41%) were female. 70.4% of females and 60.5% of males reported sexual activity. Of those that participated in at least one STI test, 28% (55/194) had ≥1 positive test, including 56% of females; 14% (28/194) had >1 positive test. Twelve females and zero males (6% overall, 14.8% of females) were HIV positive. Among females, those with HIV infection more frequently reported transactional sex (66.7% vs 26.1%, p=0.01), drug use (91.7% vs 56.5%, p=0.02), and reported a prior STI (50.0% vs 14.7%, p<0.01). Having an adult caregiver was less likely among those with HIV infection (33.3% vs 71.0%, p=0.04). Transactional sex (AOR 3.02, 95% CI (1.05 to 8.73)), a previous STI (AOR 3.46 95% CI (1.05 to 11.46)) and ≥2 sexual partners (AOR 5.62 95% (1.67 to 18.87)) were associated with having any STI. Conclusions Street-connected adolescents in Eldoret, Kenya are engaged in high-risk sexual behaviours and females in particular have a substantial burden of STIs and HIV. There is a need for STI interventions targeted to street-connected youth.

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