Alcohol Use and the Risk of HIV-1 Infection in Botswana


Principal Investigator:
George Seage, Associate Professor of Epidemiology

Department of Epidemiology

Dates of Research:
September 22, 2003 — August 31, 2007


The World Health Organization has estimated that more than 36 million adults and children have been infected with HIV-1 worldwide. In sub-Saharan Africa, the AIDS pandemic has been most severe, with more that 25 million individuals living with HIV-1. In Botswana HIV prevalence is 38.5%. A variety of biological and behavioral hypotheses have been proposed to explain this high HIV prevalence. Of particular concern is the lack of factual information on the role of alcohol use and HIV risk behaviors. The overall goal of this study is to determine the role of alcohol use and unsafe sex among individuals at risk of HIV-1 infection. To that end this study seeks to measure sexual behaviors that are associated with HIV-1 infection in Botswana specifically the frequency of partner change, condom use, alcohol use, and their impact on HIV infection. This study also explores the relationship between drinking and unsafe sex and the role of contextual factors such as meeting places (i.e. bars) and the settings for sex. Finally this project assesses the feasibility and acceptability of future alcohol and HIV risk reduction interventions. If alcohol plays an important role in the sexual transmission of HIV in Botswana, this study will be essential in the design and conduct of future HIV risk reduction interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa.