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Mobility and HIV Risk in Tanzanian couples: when the cat is away, the mice will play

Debby C.J. Vissers, Erasmus University Medical Center
Coleman Kishamawe, National Institute for Medical Research
Mark Urassa, National Institute for Medical Research of Tanzania
Raphael Isingo, National Institute for Medical Research of Tanzania
Gabriel Mwaluko
Helene Voeten, University of Rotterdam
Dik Habbema, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam
Sake De Vlas, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam

We assessed how mobility is related to risk behaviour and HIV infection, with special reference to couples. HIV-status, sexual behaviour and demographic data were available from a longitudinal study in Kisesa, rural Tanzania. Persons were considered mobile if they slept outside the household for some time, and migrant if not living in the household for some time. Mobile/migrant men did not particularly report higher numbers of sex partners. However, migrant women reported more sex partners than mobile/resident women and showed higher HIV prevalence. In couples, both resident men and women with migrant partners reported more sexual risk behaviour and also showed higher HIV prevalence than persons with mobile/resident partners. Surprisingly, risk behaviour of men increased more when their wives migrated than if they moved themselves. Interventions aiming at reducing risk behaviour due to mobility should not focus only on people moving away but also on their partners staying behind.

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Presented in Session 44: Migration and health (1)