To appraise the presence and magnitude of inter- and intra-country health inequalities related to HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) among young females.
We analyzed household surveys in twenty LAC countries, that included data from female adolescents and young women (ages 15-24) between 2008 and 2018, measuring inequality with the concentration index of 4 indicators: 1) whether individuals have heard of HIV or not, 2) a composite variable of correct knowledge, 3) reported condom use with the last partner, and 4) whether individuals were ever tested for HIV.
Participants from households in countries with higher socioeconomic status are more likely to have heard of HIV, have correct knowledge of HIV transmission, and have used condoms during their last sexual intercourse. The inter-country concentration index for those indicators were 0.352, 0.302 and 0.110, respectively.
Economically disadvantaged female adolescents and young women in LAC face an increased risk for HIV, as they are less aware of HIV and its actual transmission mechanism and are less likely to use condoms with their sexual partners. There is an urgent need to tailor prevention strategies of sexually transmitted infections and HIV for adolescents and young women that are sensitive to their socioeconomic context.