The effect of school attendance and school dropout on incident HIV and HSV-2 among young women in rural South Africa enrolled in HPTN 068.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


AIDS (London, England) (2017)


OBJECTIVE: To estimate the association between school attendance, school dropout, and risk of incident HIV and HSV-2 infection among young women.

DESIGN: We used longitudinal data from a randomized controlled trial in rural Mpumalanga province, South Africa, to assess the association between school days attended, school dropout and incident HIV and HSV-2 in young women aged 13-23 years.

METHODS: We examined inverse probability of exposure weighted survival curves and used them to calculate 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5-year risk differences and risk ratios for the effect of school attendance on incident HIV and HSV-2. A marginal structural Cox model was used to estimate hazard ratios for the effect of school attendance and school dropout on incident infection.

RESULTS: Risk of infection increased over time as young women aged, and was higher in young women with low school attendance (<80% school days) compared to high (≥80% school days). Young women with low attendance were more likely to acquire HIV (HR: 2.97; 95% CI: 1.62, 5.45) and HSV-2 (HR: 2.47; 95% CI: 1.46,4.17) over the follow up period than young women with high attendance. Similarly, young women who dropped out of school had a higher weighted hazard of both HIV (HR 3.25 95% CI: 1.67,6.32) and HSV-2 (HR 2.70; 95% CI 1.59,4.59).

CONCLUSION: Young women who attend more school days and stay in school have a lower risk of incident HIV and HSV-2 infection. Interventions to increase frequency of school attendance and prevent dropout should be promoted to reduce risk of infection.