HIV on the Move: Sex Differences in Migration Patterns and HIV Risk in South Africa

Carol S. Camlin, University of California, San Francisco
Victoria Hosegood, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Rachel Snow, University of Michigan
Nuala McGrath, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Till Barnighausen, University of Kwazulu-Natal
Marie-Louise Newell, University of Kwazulu-Natal and African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)

Research on migration and HIV/AIDS has focused on male labor migration consequences, finding migration to be a risk factor for men and their non-migrant partners, yet often failing to measure the HIV risks of migration for women. This study investigated gender differences in HIV-infection risks associated with migration in a population of 12,098 adults in KwaZulu-Natal and explores causal mechanisms for those differences. The use of innovative measures reveals distinct gender differences in patterns of migration. All of those who are more mobile are at higher risk of HIV infection, not only those who would in conventional approaches be defined as ‘labor migrants’ Women’s involvement in migration exacerbates their disproportionate infection risk relative to men. The influence of higher risk sexual behavior on prevalent HIV infection is modified both by gender and by participation in migration. Aspects of the migration experience render its “behavioral consequences” more hazardous for women.

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Presented in Session 55: HIV/AIDS