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Men's Migration and Women's HIV/AIDS Risks in Mozambique
Project funded by the NICHD (2006-8)

5R21HD048257, 2006-2008, funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Although migration is often said to be a key factor in the spread of HIV/AIDS, evidence to support the claims that migration increases exposure to HIV risks remains inconclusive. Moreover, most attention has been focused on HIV/AIDS risks of migrants, primarily men, in cities and other destination areas. Relatively little systematic information exists about migrants’ wives remaining in rural areas and their exposure to infection risks and access to prevention. In addition to possible direct effects of migration, i.e., the effects that stem from women’s sexual relationships with their migrant husbands, husbands’ migration may affect women’s HIV/AIDS knowledge and risk exposure indirectly. Migration transforms women’s marital unions, alters their social and economic constraints and opportunities, and reconfigures their social and sexual networks. These changes may encourage and/or facilitate women’s extramarital partnerships, but at the same time, may give them greater ability to avoid risky sex with both their marital and extramarital partners.

To examine this complex combination of direct and indirect effects the project employed a complementary mix of quantitative and qualitative methods: a representative survey of 1680 married women in 56 villages of four rural districts of southern Mozambique and a series of in-depth interviews with a subsample of survey respondents. The survey sample included women married to migrants and those married to non-migrants thus allowing for a comparison of the two groups of women with respect to HIV/AIDS awareness and risk perceptions and exposure to HIV infection risks and practice of prevention. In-depth interviews, conducted with women married to migrants, were design to corroborate and complement the survey data, especially in such sensitive areas as sexual networking and practice of prevention.

The data are currently being analyzed. The results of this study will advance our knowledge of the social factors shaping the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa. They will also provide invaluable information for interventions aimed at reducing HIV/AIDS risks among rural African women.

CePoD Involvement: Victor Agadjanian (Principal Investigator), Cecilia Menjívar (co-Investigator), Scott Yabiku (co-Investigator)

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