Theses Doctoral

Multilevel Factors Associated with Uptake of Biomedical HIV Prevention Strategies in the Muslim World: a Study of Central Asia, India, and Mali

Smolak, Alex

Countries with substantial Muslim populations are experiencing rapid changes in HIV prevalence. HIV testing and circumcision, as biomedical interventions, are the focus of this dissertation since biomedical strategies are the among the most efficacious HIV interventions. This dissertation examines the relationship of multilevel effects to HIV stigma, HIV risk behavior, and HIV status with two evidence-based HIV prevention intervention strategies (HIV testing and male circumcision) and a third HIV prevention intervention strategy (female circumcision) that is highly disputed, via three separate and distinct papers. This study is theoretically guided by the Ecological Perspective and the Social Network Conceptual Model. The sample for the first paper on Central Asia includes Kazakhstan (n=14,310), Kyrgyzstan (n=6,493), Uzbekistan (n=13,404), and Tajikistan (n=4,677), for a total n=38,884. The second paper sample is drawn from India: 65,356 men between the ages of 15 and 54. The third paper sample is drawn from Mali: 14,583; all of these participants are ever-married women of reproductive age (15-49 years old). Multilevel modeling was used in all three papers. This innovative methodology produced empirical evidence for the association of context with the behavior of the individual. A finding consistent in all three papers is that: context does matter. This dissertation examines context in terms of family and community membership. Specifically, the context of different levels of stigma and family/community membership impacts individuals' HIV testing and circumcision. In Central Asia, HIV stigma at the individual, family, and community levels is significantly associated with decreased HIV testing uptake and receipt of HIV test results. HIV stigma is associated with male circumcision status (i.e., whether a male is circumcised or uncircumcised) on individual, family, and community levels in India. In Mali, female circumcision was significantly associated with increased odds of HIV positive status, and circumcision status was not associated with HIV risk behavior. Family and community membership was also associated with HIV status and HIV risk behavior in Mali. The findings of the dissertation have important implications for practice, policy, and research.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
El-Bassel, Nabila
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 14, 2013