The Silk Road Health Project: How Mobility and Migration Status Influence HIV Risks among Male Migrant Workers in Central Asia
Objectives We examined whether mobility, migrant status, and risk environments are associated with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV risk behaviors (e.g. sex trading, multiple partners, and unprotected sex). Methods We used Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) to recruit external male migrant market vendors from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan as well internal migrant and non-migrant market vendors from Kazakhstan. We conducted multivariate logistic regressions to examine the effects of mobility combined with the interaction between mobility and migration status on STIs and sexual risk behaviors, when controlling for risk environment characteristics. Results Mobility was associated with increased risk for biologically-confirmed STIs, sex trading, and unprotected sex among non-migrants, but not among internal or external migrants. Condom use rates were low among all three groups, particularly external migrants. Risk environment factors of low-income status, debt, homelessness, and limited access to medical care were associated with unprotected sex among external migrants. Conclusion Study findings underscore the role mobility and risk environments play in shaping HIV/STI risks. They highlight the need to consider mobility in the context of migration status and other risk environment factors in developing effective prevention strategies for this population.
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