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Demogr Res. 2014 Oct 10;31:861-888.

Migration, sexual networks, and HIV in Agbogbloshie, Ghana.

Author information

1
University of California at Santa Barbara, U.S.A.
2
University of Washington, U.S.A.
3
University of Ghana.
4
The Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

HIV is spread through structured sexual networks, which are influenced by migration patterns, but network-oriented studies of mobility and HIV risk behavior have been limited.

OBJECTIVE:

We present a comprehensive description and initial results from our Migration & HIV in Ghana (MHG) study in Agbogbloshie, an urban slum area within Accra, Ghana.

METHODS:

The MHG study was a population-based cross-sectional study of adults aged 18-49 in Agbogbloshie in 2012. We used a one-year retrospective relationship history calendar to collect egocentric network data on sexual partners as well as migration and short-term mobility, and tested for prevalent HIV-1/2 infection.

RESULTS:

HIV prevalence was 5.5%, with prevalence among women (7.2%) over twice that of men (2.8%). Three-quarters of residents were born outside the Greater Accra region, but had lived in Agbogbloshie an average of 10.7 years. Only 7% had moved housing structures within the past year. However, short-term mobility was common. Residents had an average of 7.3 overnight trips in the last year, with women reporting more travel than men. Thirty-seven percent of men and 9% of women reported more than one sexual partner in the last year.

CONCLUSIONS:

Population-based surveys of migration and sexual risk behavior using relationship history calendars in low-resource settings can produce high quality data. Residents in Agbogbloshie are disproportionately affected by HIV, and have high levels of short-term mobility. HIV prevention interventions targeted to highly mobile populations in high prevalence settings may have far-reaching and long-term implications.

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