Background Sexually transmitted infections (STI) including syphilis are associated with risks of acquiring HIV infection. Behaviours that increase STI also play important role in increasing the risk of HIV. Transport workers are highly mobile population often predisposed to STI including HIV due to the nature of their business. Similarly, they are potential bridge population between female sex workers and the general population. This study assesses relationship between syphilis and HIV among transport workers in Nigeria.
Methods Secondary data analysis of a survey conducted in 2007 among 2233 transport workers in six Nigerian states. Time location sampling was employed. The relationship between HIV and syphilis was evaluated using multivariate logistic regressions while controlling for confounding factors such as demographic, knowledge and behavioural variables.
Results Median age was 33 years with age range: 18–49 years and all participants were male. Syphilis prevalence among transport workers was 1.6%. State-level prevalence of syphilis was: 4.2% in Anambra, 1.1% in Cross Rivers, 0.7% in Edo state, 1.8% in FCT, 0.8% in Kano and 1.9% in Lagos. HIV prevalence was 3.8% with the highest prevalence (6%) in Cross Rivers and the lowest (1.6%) in Kano. Also, 33.5% had genital discharge; 14.5% had genital ulcers/sores; 12.2% used marijuana; 25.0% were away from home for >1 month; 55.5% had secondary education and 67.2% had ever been married. Only 17.3% used condom in the last sex with non-regular partner; 31.0% had sex with a girlfriend in the past 12 months and 4.3% paid for sex in the last 12 months. Syphilis was not associated with HIV infection OR=1.54 95% CI 0.90 to 2.65. However, risks for HIV infection included being away from home for >1 month OR=1.8 95% CI 1.4 to 2.3; sex without condom in the last 12 months OR=1.5 95% CI 1.2 to 1.9; sex with female sex workers OR 1.7 95% CI 1.2 to 2.2 while secondary education was protective with OR: 0.6 95% CI 0.4 to 0.8.
Conclusions More researches are needed to investigate the relationship between syphilis and HIV in Nigeria as little evidence is available from the national survey. These findings have implication of promoting secondary education and condom uptake in non-marital relationships among transport workers in Nigeria.
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