Degree of male mobility as a risk factor for HIV in high in-migration districts of Maharashtra, India

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: Mobile males are vulnerable to HIV and are potential bridge for HIV transmission to their sex partners, including spouses. To understand how mobility accentuates vulnerability to HIV, we assessed the association of degree of male mobility with paid sex, alcohol use and condom use at all places visited by migrants in past two years. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was done among male migrant workers [n = 2991] in five high in-migration districts of Maharashtra in India during 2007–08. Results: Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that higher mobility [moving 3+ places in the past two years] was associated with “sexual debut” in paid sex [3.7% Vs 6.9%, AOR = 1.70, p < 0.001] and having sex with sex worker at the current place of destination [8.7% Vs 16.9%, AOR = 2.10, p < 0.001], at the previous place of destination [7.2% Vs 15.1%, AOR = 2.05, p < 0.001], and at the place of origin [0.6% Vs 1.6%, AOR = 2.31, p < 0.001]. However, higher mobility was associated with unpaid sex with non-marital female partners [28.4% Vs 37.2%, AOR = 1.48, p < 0.001] and less consistent condom use at the current place [26.6% Vs 23.4%, AOR = 0.45, p < 0.05] as well as at place of origin [12.2% Vs 7.2%, AOR = 0.48, p < 0.01]. In addition, alcohol use prior to sex was more among more mobile migrants relative to less mobile migrants at current place [6.1% Vs 11.2%, AOR = 1.82, p < 0.001] and previous place [7.0% Vs 13.0%, AOR = 1.77, p < 0.001] of destination. Conclusion: Findings suggest that compared to the less mobile, highly mobile men report higher HIV risk behaviours: paid sex, alcohol use prior to paid sex and inconsistent condom use, at all locations along the routes of mobility. Interventions need to target men who are highly mobile along the routes of mobility and not at destination sites alone.