Investigating alcohol consumption as a risk factor for HIV transmission in heterosexual settings in sub-Saharan African communities

N J Malunguza, S D Hove-Musekwa, G Musuka, Z Mukandavire

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    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Alcohol consumption and abuse is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa where most HIV infections occur and has been associated with risky sexual behaviors. It may therefore be one of the most common, potentially modifiable HIV risk factors in this region. A deterministic system of ordinary differential equations incorporating heterogeneity and biased sexual preferences is formulated to assess the effects of alcohol consumption on the transmission dynamics of the disease in heterosexual settings. Extensive qualitative analysis of the model is carried out and epidemic threshold such as the alcohol-induced reproductive number (RA), and equilibria are derived and their stabilities examined. The disease-free equilibrium is found to be globally attracting whenever the reproductive number is less than unity. In the model, heterosexuality is the source of transmissions, and therefore, targeting a reduction of the basic reproductive number (R0) should be primary objective for any intervention programme. We show that the preference to form partnerships amongst the heterogeneous groups influences the severity of disease and its evolution, and consequently the rate of partnership formation between females and alcohol consumers and their relative infectiousness over nondrinkers has a huge positive correlation with the alcohol-induced reproductive number and hence the epidemic. The proportion or absolute number of drinkers is shown to have minimal influence on the disease dynamics, and in a community with alcohol consumers, it is more prudent to reduce their risk sexual behavior rather than to fight the spread of alcohol consumption. Thus, intervention measures targeted at reducing heterogeneous group interactions and behavior change are the key to disease control in these settings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2094-2124
    Number of pages31
    JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
    Issue number9
    Early online date14 Jul 2012
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


    • Africa South of the Sahara
    • Alcohol Drinking
    • Female
    • HIV
    • HIV Infections
    • Humans
    • Male
    • Models, Psychological
    • Risk-Taking
    • Sexual Behavior
    • Journal Article


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