Public Release: 

Food insecurity linked to reduced odds of condom use for women in Brazil


In this week's PLoS Medicine, Alexander Tsai of Harvard University, Cambridge, USA and colleagues show that in sexually active women in Brazil severe food insecurity with hunger was positively associated with symptoms potentially indicative of sexually transmitted infection and with reduced odds of condom use. The authors say: "Our findings suggest that interventions targeting food insecurity may have beneficial implications for HIV prevention. Individual-level cognitive and/or behavioral interventions targeting HIV risk avoidance or risk reduction behaviors are likely to be less than optimally effective if these structural factors are not also taken into account."


Funding: ACT receives salary support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Program. SDW receives salary support from U.S. National Institute of Health K23 MH079713, the Hellman Family Foundation, and the Burke Family Foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: SDW has previously been affiliated with Physicians for Human Rights, an organization that advocates for the protection of internationally guaranteed rights and/or prosecution of those who violate human rights. All authors have declared that no financial conflicts of interest exist.

Citation: Tsai AC, Hung KJ, Weiser SD (2012) Is Food Insecurity Associated with HIV Risk? Cross-Sectional Evidence from Sexually Active Women in Brazil. PLoS Med 9(4): e1001203. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001203

Alex Tsai
Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program
Harvard University
United States of America

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