Transactional sex and HIV infection among commercial farm workers in South Africa


Background: High prevalence of HIV infection has been reported among commercial farm workers in South Africa, but studies of the role of transactional sex in this epidemic is limited.
Objective: This study seeks to examine the association between transactional sex and HIV infection among commercial farm workers in South Africa.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional secondary data analysis of the Integrated Biological and Behavioural Surveillance Survey by the International Organization of Migration among farm workers in Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces, South Africa in 2010. The study included 2,758 sexually active farm workers. The outcome variable was HIV infection while the main explanatory variable was engagement in transactional sex. Other explanatory variables were sex, age, marital status, number of sex partners, food security, recent history of sexually transmitted infection, condom use at last sex with non-regular partner, history of sexual violence and migration status. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were done to obtain unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios of the association between transactional sex and HIV infection.
Results: Engagement in transactional sex was common (19%) but not significantly associated with HIV infection (OR 1.1; CI 0.57-2.44). Female sex (1.93; 1.60-2.32), age 25 to 44 years, recent STI (OR 1.37; CI 1.18-1.58) and sexual violence (OR 1.39; CI 1.19-1.63) were significant risk factors for HIV infection.
Conclusion: Risky sexual behaviours were common among the farmworker population. HIV prevention interventions should include behavioural change communication and improved access to healthcare for STI and HIV treatment.



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Author Biography

Latifat Ibisomi, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos

Prof. Latifat Ibisom, PhD, MSc(Med), MSc, BSc(Hons), is a Senior Lecturer with the Division of Epidemiology & Biostatistics of the Wits School of Public Health. She also coordinates the academic Programmes of the Division and leads as well as manages the WHO/TDR post-graduate (MSc & PhD) training scheme in Implementation Science.

She holds a PhD in Demography and Population Studies and MSc (Med) in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; MSc in Population Studies from University of Nairobi, Nairobi Kenya and BSc (Honours) in Statistics from University of Ibadan, Ibadan Nigeria.  She also holds certifications in many specialized population, public health, development, and management trainings including the Management Advancement Programme of the Wits Business School.

Prior to her current position, she was a lecturer with the Wits Graduate Programme in Demography & Population studies. She has also previously worked in government, international and research institutions including the National Population Commission, Nigeria, UNICEF, Nigeria and the African Population and Health Research Centre, Kenya.

Her research focus is in sexual and reproductive health including HIV/AIDS and maternal & child health issues. She has been engaged in and supervised several field activities, published research articles, monitored and evaluated as well as done advocacy work on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of different segments of the African population.

Currently, she oversees a study on HIV incident and related sexual behaviour practices among pregnant women at Baragwanath Hospital; co-Investigator on Migration, Urbanization and Health in a Transition Setting study, that aims to highlight health care  requirements (including sexual and reproductive health needs) of migrants as well as study the health and socio-economic consequences of migration by following up migrants leaving the Agincourt HDSS; and Wits lead investigator on the SRHR-HIV Knows No Borders Consortium, which seeks to improve SRH (among adolescents, young people & sex workers) in migration-affected communities in six southern Africa countries.


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Original Articles
Transactional sex, commercial farm workers, HIV infection
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How to Cite
Durojaiye, I., Obisie-Nmehielle, N., & Ibisomi, L. (2021). Transactional sex and HIV infection among commercial farm workers in South Africa. Journal of Public Health in Africa, 11(2).