Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC International Health and Human Rights and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Research article

A multilevel analysis of effect of neighbourhood and individual wealth status on sexual behaviour among women: evidence from Nigeria 2003 Demographic and Health Survey

Olalekan A Uthman1* and Eugene J Kongnyuy2

Author affiliations

1 Center for Evidence-Based Global Health, Save the Youth Initiative, Nigeria

2 Child and Reproductive Health Group, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC International Health and Human Rights 2008, 8:9  doi:10.1186/1472-698X-8-9

Published: 27 June 2008



Nigeria is home to more people living with HIV than any other country in the world, except South Africa and India – where an estimated 2.9 million [1.7 million – 4.2 million] people were living with the virus in 2005. Women bear the greatest burden of frequent high-risk pregnancies, raising large families, and increasingly, the AIDS epidemic. Thus, there is a need for better understanding of the determinants of high risk sexual behaviour among women. In this study, we examined factors associated with extra-marital sex among women in Nigeria and investigated how much variation in reported extra-marital sex can be attributed to individual-, and community-level factors.


We analyzed data from 6362 sexually active women aged 15 – 49 years who participated in the Nigeria 2003 Demographic and Health Survey using multilevel logistic regression models. Results are presented as odds ratio with 95% confidence interval.


Independent of other factors, compared to women aged 15–24 years, those 25 – 34 years (odds ratio [OR] 0.59; 95% CI: 0.44 – 0.79) and 35 years or older (OR 0.36; 95% CI: 0.24 – 0.54) were less likely to have reported multiple concurrent sex partners in the last 12 years. As expected, women currently or formerly married were less likely to have reported multiple concurrent sex partners than women never married. Women who drank alcohol in the last three months were more likely to have reported multiple concurrent sex partners. Compared to women from richest household, women from poorest and middle household were 83% and 51% more likely to multiple concurrent sex partners in the last 12 month respectively. After individual compositional and contextual factors, community wealth status was statistically significant with sexual behaviour.


The study has demonstrated that individual and community wealth status are independent predictors of women's sexual behaviour, and that there is significant neighbourhood variation in odds of multiple concurrent sex partners, even after controlling for effects of both individual- and community-level characteristics. Scholars trying to understand variation individual high risk sexual behaviour should pay attention to the characteristics of both individuals and places of residence.