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Assessment of HIV-related risky behaviour: a comparative study of face-to-face interviews and polling booth surveys in the general population of Cotonou, Benin
  1. Luc Béhanzin1,2,
  2. Souleymane Diabaté1,2,
  3. Isaac Minani3,
  4. Catherine M Lowndes1,4,
  5. Marie-Claude Boily1,5,
  6. Annie-Claude Labbé6,
  7. Séverin Anagonou7,8,
  8. Djimon Marcel Zannou7,8,
  9. Anne Buvé9,
  10. Michel Alary1,2,10
  1. 1Centre de recherche FRQS du CHU de Québec, URESP, Québec, Canada
  2. 2Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
  3. 3Dispensaire IST, Centre de santé communal de Cotonou 1, Cotonou, Bénin
  4. 4Department of HIV and STIs, Health Protection Agency, London, UK
  5. 5Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College, London, UK
  6. 6Département de microbiologie, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  7. 7Faculté des sciences de la santé, Université d'Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou, Bénin
  8. 8Centre national hospitalier universitaire, Cotonou, Bénin
  9. 9Unit of Epidemiology and Control of HIV/STD, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
  10. 10Unité de recherche en santé des populations (URESP), Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Québec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michel Alary, Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec, Hôpital du Saint-Sacrement, 1050 Chemin Ste-Foy, Québec, QC, Canada G1S 4L8; malary{at}


Objectives During the 2008 HIV prevalence survey carried out in the general population of Cotonou, Benin, face-to-face interviews (FTFI) were used to assess risky behaviours for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI). We compared sexual behaviours reported in FTFI with those reported in polling booth surveys (PBS) carried out in parallel in an independent random sample of the same population.

Methods In PBS, respondents grouped by gender and marital status answered simple questions by putting tokens with question numbers in a green box (affirmative answers) or a red box (negative answers). Both boxes were placed inside a private booth. For each group and question, data were gathered together by type of answer. The structured and gender-specific FTFI guided by trained interviewers included all questions asked during PBS. Pearson χ2 or Fisher's exact test was used to compare FTFI and PBS according to affirmative answers.

Results Overall, respondents reported more stigmatised behaviours in PBS than in FTFI: the proportions of married women and men who reported ever having had commercial sex were 17.4% and 41.6% in PBS versus 1.8% and 19.6% in FTFI, respectively. The corresponding proportions among unmarried women and men were 16.1% and 25.5% in PBS versus 3.9% and 13.0% in FTFI, respectively. The proportion of married women who reported having had extramarital sex since marriage was 23.6% in PBS versus 4.6% in FTFI.

Conclusions PBS are suitable to monitor reliable HIV/STI risk behaviours. Their use should be expanded in behavioural surveillance.

  • HIV

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