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Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Epidemiology & Community Health


Objective: Global HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to affect people worldwide. India has approximately 2 million women living with HIV/AIDS. Women in India maintain a low status in society, with minimal autonomy. This study investigated the relationship between women's autonomy in decision-making and their AIDS knowledge (designated ‘ever heard of AIDS').Methods: This study used the 1998-2000 Demographic Health Survey with India's National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2). Data were collected on 90,300 ever-married women ages 15-49. Statistical analyses were conducted in SAS 9.1, including descriptive analysis, univariate analysis, and multiple logistic regression.Results: In the sample, 40,777 (45.2%) of the 90,300 women had ever heard of AIDS. Younger women (15-24 years) had the lowest prevalence of AIDS knowledge (40.9%). The highest geographic prevalence of knowledge was in South India (= 70.4%) compared to the lowest in Central India (=21.6%). Socio-economically, women in lowest level for standard of living had the lowest prevalence of AIDS knowledge (20.6%). Half of women with primary educations and 42.9% of Hindu women reported knowledge. Women were 1.71 (95% CI, 1.66-1.77) times more likely to have AIDS knowledge in the role of primary decision-makers. Even after adjusting, women in primary decision-making roles for their health care remained 16% (95% CI, 11-22) more likely to have AIDS knowledge compared to women whose husbands were primary decision-makers.Conclusion: The study allows for better understanding of the role that decision-making autonomy plays in HIV/AIDS knowledge among women in India. Intervention and education programs can integrate the findings to strengthen their effectiveness.


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Date of Submission

June 2008