HIV-1 remains the leading cause of death among adults in Sub-Saharan Africa, and over 1 million people are infected annually. Better identification of at-risk groups could benefit prevention and treatment programmes. We systematically identified factors related to HIV-1 infection in two nationally representative cohorts of women that participated in Zambia’s Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS).

We conducted a comprehensive analysis to identify and replicate the association of 1,415 social, economic, environmental, and behavioral indicators with HIV-1 status. We used the 2007 and 2013-2014 DHS surveys conducted among 5,715 and 15,433 Zambian women, respectively (727 indicators in 2007; 688 in 2013-2014; 688 in both). We used false discovery rate criteria to identify indicators that are strongly associated with HIV-1 in univariate and multivariate models in the entire population, as well as in subgroups stratified by wealth, residence, age, and history of HIV-1 testing.