BACKGROUND: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a global health problem. The epidemic is very
serious in sub-Saharan Africa with approximately 70% of the global cases. The disease particularly affects youth,
accounting for half of the new HIV infections yearly. Inadequate knowledge may contribute to the high rates
among youth. Hence, the main aim of this study was to examine the association between residence and
comprehensive HIV knowledge among women aged 15–24 years in Ethiopia.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study used nationally representative data from the 2016 Ethiopian demographic
health survey (n = 5926). Chi-square tests and multivariable logistic regression modeling were performed.
RESULTS: Approximately 23.9% of the study participants had a comprehensive HIV knowledge and 74.7% were rural
residents. In the multivariable-adjusted model, we found a significant interaction between place of residence and HIV
testing on comprehensive HIV knowledge (P for interaction = 0.005). In the subgroup analysis, a statistically significant
associations between place of residence and comprehensive HIV knowledge was found only in women who have
never been tested for HIV. In this subgroup, rural women had lower odds of having a comprehensive HIV knowledge
compared to their urban counterparts (OR 0.42, 95% CI: 0.23–0.74; P = 0.003). Furthermore, in the subgroup of women
who have never been tested for HIV, education and region were significantly associated with comprehensive HIV
knowledge. Compared to women with no education, the odds of having a comprehensive HIV knowledge were
higher in women who had primary (OR 2.86, 95% CI: 1.63–5.02; P < 0.001) and secondary or above education (OR 5.49,
95% CI: 2.92–10.32; P < 0.001), respectively. The odds of having a comprehensive HIV knowledge were lower in women
from the Somali region compared to women from Addis Ababa region (OR 0.41, 95% CI: 0.18–0.90; P = 0.027).
CONCLUSIONS: Rural residence was negatively associated with comprehensive HIV knowledge only in women who have
never been tested for HIV. These findings suggest that the development and implementation HIV education and
awareness programs should target rural areas, especially where there is limited access to HIV testing.