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High HIV Prevalence in Slums: Important Findings from a Global Study

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The global prevalence of HIV in slums is a significant public health concern, particularly given the vulnerability of these populations due to overcrowding, poverty, and limited access to healthcare services, factors that facilitate the transmission and spread of the virus. A lack of comprehensive understanding regarding the prevalence of HIV in slums prompted a systematic study to synthesize existing global evidence on the subject.

A thorough systematic literature review was undertaken for this purpose, employing multiple electronic databases and covering a period from January 1, 1990, to March 31, 2023. The quality and risk of bias for each included study were evaluated using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale, and the pooled prevalence was calculated using a random-effects model. The degree of heterogeneity among the studies was assessed using the I2 test, and publication bias was also evaluated. A subgroup analysis was performed to identify potential factors contributing to the observed heterogeneity.


Urban Slum HIV Prevalence: A Global Meta-Analysis and Implications for Interventions

The systematic examination resulted in the inclusion of 22 studies in the meta-analysis, assessing a cohort of 52,802 participants. The overall prevalence of HIV in the slum areas was estimated at 10%. Subgroup analysis based on gender revealed a higher prevalence of 13% among women, compared to 8% among men. A geographical breakdown indicated the highest prevalence in Africa (11%), followed by the American continent (9%), with the Asian continent displaying the lowest prevalence (1%).

The study also revealed differences in prevalence based on the type of test used and the country’s income level. Studies employing rapid tests indicated a prevalence of 13%, while those relying on self-reported data reported a lower prevalence of 8%. Studies utilizing ELISA reported a prevalence of 9%. Furthermore, studies conducted in upper-middle-income countries reported a higher prevalence of 20%, compared to a prevalence of 8% in lower- and middle-income countries.

The findings highlight the high prevalence of HIV infection in slum areas, underlining the urgent need for targeted interventions aimed at curbing the spread of HIV in these areas. The results call for policymakers to devise effective strategies to mitigate gender disparities, address poverty alleviation, and empower the inhabitants of these marginalized areas.


Original Article DOI: 10.1186/s12879-023-08877-7

Original title: Prevalence of HIV in slums area: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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