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The Intersection of Alcohol Use, Gender Based Violence and HIV: Empirical Findings among Disadvantaged Service-Seeking Youth in Kampala, Uganda


The SAVA syndemic is frequently used to describe the co-occurrence of HIV, gender-based violence (GBV), and substance use. In this study we determine the extent to which the typologies of the SAVA syndemic can be described and utilized for intervention strategies among youth living in the slums of Kampala, Uganda. We analyzed the "Kampala Youth Survey 2014," a cross-sectional survey conducted in the spring of 2014, consisting of a convenience sample (N = 1134) of urban youth (12-18 years of age). Descriptive statistics were computed for hypothesized risk factors and demographic variables among the 8 typologies of GBV, HIV, and alcohol use. Multinomial logistic regression was conducted to determine statistically significant correlates with each typology. The overall prevalence of GBV was 31.7%, whereas the overall prevalence of alcohol use in the past 12 months was 31.2%. HIV-Positive youth comprised 10.5% of the total sample. Females comprised the majority of the typology with no SAVA components compared to males (55% vs. 45%, respectively), as well as the SAVA syndemic typology (GBV + HIV + ALC +) (58% vs. 42%, respectively). Engaging in commercial sex work (36%), witnessing parental abuse (61%), and depression/suicidality (81%) were all highly prevalent among youth in the SAVA syndemic typology (GBV, HIV, and alcohol use). Sex work and observing parental abuse were associated with the SAVA syndemic typology in the multivariable model. In our study, alcohol rarely coexisted without GBV among the typologies. Therefore, prevention efforts including structural interventions may be particularly warranted in vulnerable populations to address alcohol use, which may directly or indirectly impact GBV and HIV.

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