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HIV-related risk behaviors among labor migrants, their wives and the general population in Nepal
journal contributionposted on 2023-03-08, 04:00 authored by Subash Thapa, Deependra ThapaDeependra Thapa, Anne Buve, Karin Hannes, Chiranjibi Nepal, Catharina Mathei
Nepalese labor migrants and their wives are considered as at-risk populations for HIV infection. There may be a risk of HIV transmission from the labor migrant and their wives to the general population due to HIV related risk behaviors, but so far empirical evidence to support this hypothesis is scarce. Therefore, this study was conducted to compare HIV-related risk behaviors between labor migrants, their wives, and males and females from the general population in the far-western region of Nepal. This was a cross-sectional study, in which structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with 261 male labor migrants, 262 wives of labor migrants, 123 males and 122 females from the general population. We found that the proportion of the labor migrants and their wives reporting having had extramarital sex in the previous year did not differ significantly with the males (11.9 vs. 13.4%, p value 0.752) and females (2.0 vs. 1.7%, p value 0.127) from the general population. However, the labor migrants compared with the males from the general population were 1.51 times and the wives of labor migrants compared with the females from the general population were 2.37 times more likely to have been tested for HIV. Both the males from the general population and the labor migrants are equally engaged in unprotected extramarital sex. Therefore, it is recommended that the prevention programs, including access to condoms and HIV testing, should be scaled up targeting a broader range of individuals in the far-western region of Nepal.