Is there an association between African national HIV prevalence values and socio-economic status of their albino populations?
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Online publication date: 2016-06-27
HIV & AIDS Review 2016;15(2):73-79
Albinos are predisposed to poverty as a result of inability to compete economically due to low education, caused by poor eye sight. Besides stigmatization and discrimination, albinos are specific sexual targets of HIV sufferers. This study investigates the relationship between HIV prevalence and socio-economic status among albinos in a tertiary hospital in Abuja, Nigeria.

Bio-data (age, sex, and marital status) and socio-economic status (monthly income in US Dollars at time of presentation, level of education, and employment status) of all consecutive adult albino and normal-pigmented patients who underwent surgery were collected and analyzed. All consenting patients were tested for HIV and included in the study. The study population was divided into four groups comprising of (1) HIV positive albino patients, (2) HIV positive normal-pigmented patients, (3) HIV negative albino patients, and (4) HIV negative normal-pigmented patients. Socio-economic status of these groups was compared.

A total of 198 adult patients were included in the study. 20 (20.2%) albino patients tested positive for HIV, out of which 4 had exposure to post-high school education, while 3 (3.03%) normal-pigmented patients tested positive for the virus, with 2 having had exposure to post-high school education. 21 out of 79 HIV negative albinos had exposure to post-high school education, while 73 of 96 normal-pigmented patients had such exposure.
HIV positive albino patients earned an average of 0.70 dollars per day, while HIV negative patients earned 1.97 dollars per day. Normal-pigmented HIV positive patients earned an average of 9.00 dollars per day, while those who tested negative earned 13.79 dollars per day.

There is an association between national HIV prevalence values in Africa and socio-economic status of their albino populations. It shows poverty-stricken African albinos to be apparently more likely to be HIV positive than their normal-pigmented counterparts. Neglecting the special educational needs of this group exposes the general society to danger.
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