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Clustering of HIV Patients in Ethiopia

Authors Biressaw W, Tilaye H, Melese D

Received 4 February 2021

Accepted for publication 28 April 2021

Published 25 May 2021 Volume 2021:13 Pages 581—592

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/HIV.S301510

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Bassel Sawaya

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Wondimu Biressaw,1 Habtamu Tilaye,2 Dessie Melese2

1Benishangul-Gumuz, Wombera Sineor Secondary and Preparatory School, Benishangul, Ethiopia; 2University of Gondar, College of Natural and Computational Science, Departmentof Statistics, Gondar, Ethiopia

Correspondence: Dessie Melese
Department of Statistics, College Natural and Computational Science, University of Gondar, P.O. Box 196, Gondar, Ethiopia
Email [email protected]

Background: Among the many worldwide health problems, HIV/AIDS has caused severe health problems in several countries. The problem is also widely seen in Ethiopia. The general objective of the study is to cluster HIV patients and to find out the factors that mostly affect the prevalence of HIV within a group (cluster) and between groups (clusters) of HIV patients.
Methods: The study is made based on the 2016 Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey (EDHS) which was collected by the Central Statistical Agency (CSA) of Ethiopia, and the survey collected a total of 26,753 samples, of which 14,785 were women and 11,968 were men and the age group was between 15 and 49 years for both. Binary logistic regression, principal component analysis, cluster analysis, and ANOVA were applied to analyze the data.
Results: The result from binary logistic regression reveals that 15 factors such as ever heard of AIDS, region, water not available for at least a day in the last 2 weeks, has a radio, family members wash their hands, location of the source of water, everything completed to water to make it harmless to drink, food cooked in the house/separate house/outside, has a mobile telephone, has a table, type of place of residence, highest education level attained, current marital status, sex of household members, and age of household members are all significant factors that affect HIV status.
Conclusion: Using these significant variables, 12 principal components are identified which describe 78% of the variation in the data. The result of HIV patients are clustered into 3 clusters and determine the status of HIV levels. Mainly, cluster 2 accounts for 50% of HIV patients whereas cluster 3 and 1 accounts for 40% and 10%, respectively.

Keywords: Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey; EDHS, cluster analysis, principal component analysis, HIV patients

Background

HIV/AIDS is a worldwide public health problem.1 Globally, around 37.9 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2018 with 2.1 million people newly diagnosed. The sub-Saharan region is the most affected place in the world with 25.6 million people living with HIV.2

Ethiopia is one of the majorly affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa, with a huge number of people that are living with HIV/AIDS.3 HIV is a major public health problem in developing countries.4

The spread of HIV shows remarkable differences across the population, sub-groups, regions, and countries at the sub-national level and within sub-districts.5–9

HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia is regularly categorized as “generalized“ among the adult population with heterogeneity among regions and population groups. The rural spread appears to be comparatively epidemic but heterogeneous, with the majority of rural areas having a comparatively low prevalence of HIV-infected people.10

In Ethiopia around 613,000 people are living with HIV. The different prevalence rates are significant when looking at the total number of PLHIV per region as population size varies from one region to another. Seventy-four percent of PLHIV are from Amhara, Oromia and Addis Ababa.11

In Ethiopia, HIV is considered to be concentrated in nine regions and two administrative towns. Eighty-six percent of PLHIV use antiretroviral treatment.12

The national prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia is 0.9%. This research has used clustering of HIV patients in Ethiopia to explore relationships between HIV patients within and between clusters. Therefore, the general objective of the study is to cluster HIV patients and to find out the factors that affect HIV within a group (cluster) and between groups (clusters) of HIV patients.

Method

Data Source and Study Design

The source of the data was obtained from the Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey (EDHS) conducted in 2016. It is a cross-sectional study design conducted from January 18, 2016 to June 27, 2016.

Statistical Analysis

Statistical analysis was performed using the R statistical software.

Variables

Response variable: The response variable for this study is the HIV status of the respondents whose result is positive or negative, which can be recorded as binary (1 = positive, 0 = negative).

Explanatory variables/factors: The explanatory variables or independent variables for this study are the demographic and socioeconomic, cultural, and lifestyle conditions of people that might be vulnerable to HIV infection.

Statistical Analysis

In this study, the authors used a multiple binary logistic regression model to determine significant variables.13

Principal Component Analysis

Principal component analysis is a method for dropping the dimensionality of such data sets, increasing interpretability but at the same time reducing information loss.14 It describes the correlation or variance–covariance structure between the set of variables through a few uncorrelated latent/hidden or new variables, each of which is a linear combination of the original variables which can maximize the variance accounted for.15

Cluster analysis is a technique of grouping variables based on similarity or distance by considering the nature of the variable or scale of measurements and the subject matter knowledge. This is in order to make objects in a group similar, and objects in different groups be relatively different.

Results

Table 1 shows that in 414 HIV cases 291 are females and 123 are males. This indicates that the problem is severe for both females than males in Ethiopia. From 414 HIV cases, 373 had enough information about AIDS and 41 of them did not have enough information about AIDS. Most of the HIV patients (350) do not make water safe to drink. And also, of 414 HIV cases, 243 of them had a table and 171 of them did not have a table. Of 414 HIV cases, 225 were married, 84 were divorced, 60 were widowed, and 45 were never married. The highest number of patients was found in cluster two, which was 208 (50%), followed by cluster three which was 165 (40%), and the least number of patients was found in cluster one which was 41 (10%) (Table 1).

Table 1 Frequency Distribution of HIV Patients in Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey 2016

Table 2 showed that region, blood test results, cluster numbers, source of drinking water, water not available for at least a day in the previous two weeks, source of water, toilet facilities, had electricity, had a radio, had a television, had a refrigerator, material used on the floor, material used in the walls, material used in the roof, relationship structure, had a telephone (landline). Shared a toilet with other households, type of cooking fuel, a place where household members wash their hands, location of the source for water, person fetching water, anything is done to water to make it safe to drink, food cooked in the house/separate building/outdoors, had a mobile telephone. Owned land usable for agriculture, hectares of agricultural land (1 decimal), owned livestock, herds of farm animals. Wealth index combined, table, chair, bed with cotton/spring mattress, electric mitad, type of residence, highest education level attained. Current marital status, sex of a household member, age of the household member, current, formerly, never married. Eligibility for the female interview, eligibility for the male interview, interviewer that took blood for HIV testing, ever heard of AIDS and number of sexual partners, including a spouse, in the last 12 months, are candidates for multiple binary logistic regression analysis with (p < 0.1) (Table 2).

Table 2 Chi-Square Test Results of HIV Patients in Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey 2016

Multiple Binary Logistic Regression Results

Table 3 showed that the odds of an individuals who had heard about AIDS are 0.73 times than those individuals who had not heard about AIDS.

Table 3 Result of the Multiple Binary Logistic Regressions of HIV Patients in Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey 2016

The number of HIV patients in the Gambella region is 4.17 times the number of HIV positive cases in the Tigray region and Amhara which is 1.84 times the reference region. The problem is less in SNNPR than the reference region by 48% and less in Somali which is 13% than the Tigray reference region.

Binary logistic regression analysis also shows that the odds of individuals who had a radio is 1.5 times individuals who had no radio. The source of drinking water is in one yard/plot area is 3.4% less likely to be infected with HIV and for those whose source of drinking water is elsewhere it is 7.9% less likely to be infected with HIV than those whose source of drinking water is in one dwelling. The problem for those who made water safe to drink were 0.39 units lower than those who did not make water safe to drink.

The result for food cooked in separate house/outside indicates the chance of those who cooked their food in a separate building is 0.40 units lower than those who cooked their food in the house (ref). The odds of individuals who had mobile telephone are 1.7 times those who had no mobile telephone. The result for the place of residence indicated individuals wh lived in rural areas had 36% fewer HIV infections than those whose place of residence was in an urban area.

The highest education level indicates that the odds of being an HIV positive individual with both primary and secondary education level was 1.8 times that of those who had no education. Current marital status indicated that the category married, widowed, and divorced was found to be 2.1, 10.27, and 5 times that of those who never married (ref), respectively.

The prevalence of HIV infection varies by sex. The results indicate that the chance of females being HIV positive was 1.7 times higher than males (Table 3).

Amount of explained variance: The first seven components are taken (57% of the variation would be explained), the first nine components are taken (66% of the variation would be explained), and the first twelve components would be taken (78% of the variation would be explained).

Subject matter consideration: From this aspect, we observed that the results from the analysis of six principals, the proportion of variation to explain the variable is 52%. This shows that there is around 48% of information loss to explain the variables and 12 principal components are more direct to interpret and easy to relate variables (Table 4).

Table 4 The Standard Deviation of Principal Components

Principal factor one is related to place of residence. The correlation between key variables in principal factor one showed that there was a strong positive association (0.81) with individuals who had electricity. There was a good indirect correlation (−0.70) with individuals who had their own livestock, herds, or farm animals. There was a good positive correlation (0.58) with the wealth index combined, and a positive correlation (0.33) with the region. There was a positive correlation (0.40) with the highest education level attained.

Principal factor two was related to the age of the household. The correlations between key variables of principal factor two suggested that there was a direct correlation (0.25) with current marital status.

Principal factor three was related to the region. This component primarily measured the regional state of HIV patients. Principal factor four was related to the sex of household members. There was a negative correlation (−0.22) with the age of first sex. Principal factor five was associated with the place where food was cooked. Principal factor six was associated with the relationship structure. The correlation between the key variables of this principal factor was a good positive correlation with the number of rooms used for sleeping. Principal factor seven was related to individuals who had a mobile telephone. Principal factor eight was associated to everything done to water to make it safeto drink.

Principal factor nine was associated to the wealth index combined. The correlation between the key variables of principal factor nine suggests the following:

There is a good positive correlation (0.61) with individuals who had a table and also there was a positive correlation (0.34) with highest education level attained and individuals who had electricity. There was a positive correlation with individuals who had a radio and individuals who had a mobile telephone, 0.37 and 0.31 respectively. There was a negative correlation (−0.36) with the place where household members washed their hands.

Principal factor 10 primarily measured water being unavailable for at least a day in the previous two weeks. Principal factor 11 primarily measured current marital status. The correlation between this key variable suggests there was a positive correlation (0.22) with the age of the household member. Principal factor 12 primarily measured owns livestock, herds, or farm animals (Table 5).

Table 5 Principal Value and Significant Variables from Binary Logistic Regression

Cluster Analysis

Agglomerative Clustering of Variables

Start with the individual variables. Thus, there are initially as many clusters as objects. The most similar variables are first grouped, and these initial groups are merged according to their similarities. Then those groups with low similarity are taken as clusters. Eventually, as the similarity decreases, all sub-groups are fused in to a single cluster. From the above result the suggestion would be six clusters, where two variables (had radio and age of household member) are each forming an individual cluster. Where the more the shorter distance of joining implies the more clusters is similar. Most of the variables are grouped in clusters 1 and 2, whereas variable sex of household is removed from cluster 1 and added to cluster 5 and the variable 'had radio' is removed from cluster 5 and added to cluster 2 by k mean clustering.

K-Mean Clustering of Variables

It is one of the non-hierarchical cluster analyses with a purpose of assigning elements to pre-determined clusters, in a way that each item is assigned to a cluster with the nearest mean. Based on the results, clustering by this method almost agrees with agglomerative method, with some exceptions, such as this method merges variable 'had radio' and splits 'sex of household' as one cluster, but the agglomerative method merges the variable 'sex of household' and splits the variable 'had radio' as one cluster.

Bootstrap Clustering of Variables

Bootstrap clustering suggests that the cluster with a large p-value is highly supported by the data. Hence, the number of cluster and element selection had to be done based on the desired p-value. It gives a statistically significant number of clusters for the desired level of confidence. If the number of times items are assigned together is at least at a desired level of confidence, then this group is considered as one cluster with the desired level of confidence, e.g., If some groups of items are assigned together, with the number of times being greater than or equal to 0.95 then these groups of items are considered to be one cluster with a 95% confidence level. The result assures the existence of the first three clusters and the remaining three clusters (4, 5, and 6) are rejected because their confidence levels are 93%, 57%, and 85%, respectively and are less than the 95% confidence level (Table 6). To understand Table 6 see supplementary material (Table S1).

Table 6 List of Variables in Each Cluster

Discussion

The analysis results showed that the odds of individuals who had heard about AIDS are 0.73 times likely than individuals who had not heard about AIDS. This does not coincides with the finding of.16

In the Amhara and Gambella regions, there are 1.84 and 4.17 times the HIV cases as compared to the Tigray region, respectively. In Somali and SNNPR there are 0.13 and 0.48 times the HIV cases thatn in the Tigray region (ref), respectively. The prevalence of HIV in Ethiopia is estimated at 1.55%. This finding shows the prevalence is reduced from the finding of.17 This indicates that the prevalence of HIV infection varies from region to region.

The people who had a radio were 1.5 times more than those who had no radio.18 This was the main tool used to address people, creating awareness programs and ensuring the people had enough comprehensive knowledge about HIV.

Where sources of drinking water is in one yard/plot area, 3.4% of people areless likely to be infected with HIV. A source of drinking water found elsewhere means 7.9% of people are less likely to be infected with HIV, than e source of drinking water is in one dwelling. Those who make water safe to drink is 0.39 units lower than those who do not make water safe to drink.

The odds of those who cooked their food in a separate house are 67% less likely than those who cooked their food in their house. The odds of individuals who had a mobile telephone are 1.7 times more than those who had no mobile telephone.19 This shows that the problem is higher for those who had a mobile telephone than those who did not.

Adults who live in rural areas were 36% less likely to be HIV positive than adults who lived in urban areas. This indicates the problem is more severe in urban areas.17

Regarding the educational levels of individuals who had primary, secondary, and higher education levels were 1.82, 1.82, and 0.78 times than no education or only preschool level, respectively.20,21 This indicates individuals whose education level is primary, secondary, and higher education were most likely to be infected with HIV than those who have no education or preschool level only.

Also the result of current marital status indicates that, the categories married, widowed, and divorced was found to be 2.1, 10.27, and 5 times that of those who never married, respectively.22 This result indicates that individuals who were married, widowed, or divorced are most likely to be infected with HIV than those individuals who never married.

Conclusions

A binary logistic regression reveals that 15 factors, such as: ever heard of AIDS, region, water not available for at least a day in the previous two weeks, had a radio, place where household members washed their hands, location of source of water, anything done to water to make it safe to drink, food cooked in separate house/outside, had a mobile telephone, had a table, type of residence, highest education level attained, current marital status, sex of household members, and age of household members are significant factors which affect HIV status. Using these significant variables, 12 principal components are identified which describe 78% of the variation in the data. As a result HIV patents are clustered into three clusters to determine HIV status. Mainly cluster two accounts for 50% of HIV patients, whereas clusters one and three account for 10% and 40%, respectively.

Abbreviations

AIDS, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus; WHO, World Health Organization; PLWH, people living with HIV; HAPCO, HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office; CSA, Central Statistical Agency; EDHS, Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey; UNAIDS, United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS; USAID, United States Agency for International Development; FMOH, Federal Ministry of Health.

Data Sharing Statement

The data sets used and analyzed during the current study are available from the Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey 2016.

Ethical Consideration

Ethical clearance was obtained from the college review board of the University of Gondar, College of Natural, and Computational Science. A formal letter of cooperation was written for Central Statistical Agency.

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge that the Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency and the data were obtained from the EDHS 2016; they have given permission to access the data after we have prepared the proposal on the title.

Author Contributions

All authors made substantial contribution to conception and study design, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation, took part in drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; agreed to submit to the current journal; gave final approval of the version to be published; and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

Disclosure

The authors report no conflicts of interests in this research article.

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