Female migrants may be more at risk of HIV in Kazakhstan

Migrant workers in Kazakhstan: gender differences in HIV knowledge and sexual risk behaviors.

Zhussupov B, McNutt LA, Gilbert L, Terlikbayeva A, El-Bassel N. AIDS Behav. 2015 Jul;19(7):1298-304. doi: 10.1007/s10461-014-0914-9. AIDS Behav. 2015 Jul;19(7):1298-304. doi: 10.1007/s10461-014-0914-9.

This study compares sexual risk behaviors among male and female migrant market vendors in Almaty, Kazakhstan. From the Barakholka Market, 209 male and 213 female market vendors were randomly recruited. Self-reported data were collected through standardized face-to-face interviews. Dry blood spot was used as specimen for syphilis testing. Propensity score stratification was used to estimate adjusted prevalence or rate ratios by gender. Compared to male migrant workers, females had lower HIV knowledge and were less likely to have multiple sexual partners. There was no evidence of a gender difference for prevalence of syphilis, condom use with unsteady partners, and safe sex communication between couples. Associations between mobility patterns and engagement in multiple sexual partnerships were stronger among women than men. Efforts should be made to mitigate the gender differential in HIV knowledge among migrants, especially women. Such efforts need to be implemented in both home and host countries.

Abstract [1]  Full-text [free] access [2]

Editor’s notes: Migration and mobility have been shown to be contributing factors to increased risk of HIV around the world. This is due to a number of factors, but most common are lack of social support, little or no access to services, and language and legal issues. Depending on socio-economic contexts, women and men will often leave their homes for periods of time to trade or work in agriculture or construction in other domestic or international locations. This paper examines the relationship between gender and sexual risk behaviours in Almaty, the financial capital of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan, and Almaty in particular, is a hub for trade migrants from all over Central Asia. The paper notes the lack of accurate statistics for gender distribution among migrants, but estimates indicate ahigh proportion are women. Overall, the study found that the migrant population surveyed was more likely to have multiple sexual partners than the general population, although the data used as the general population comparison was somewhat dated. Women were less likely to be educated about HIV than men, and while also less likely to have multiple sexual partners than men, the partnerships they did have were closely linked to their mobility and the time spent at market. This study provides important insights into the HIV and sexual risk contexts in this region, and highlights the importance of continuing research there in order to inform HIV prevention and care programmes which can better support population needs. 

Asia [7]
Kazakhstan [8]
  • [9]