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Sex Transm Infect. 2018 Nov;94(7):515-517. doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2016-052904. Epub 2017 Jun 8.

HIV prevalence and related risk behaviours in female seasonal farm workers in Souss Massa Draa, Morocco: results from a cross-sectional survey using cluster-based sampling.

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World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for HIV Strategic Information, University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia.
Department of Epidemiology and Disease Control, Ministry of Health, Rabat, Morocco.
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.
UNAIDS Country Office for Morocco, Rabat, Morocco.
World Health Organization Regional Office for Eastern Mediterranean, Cairo, Egypt.



To determine prevalence of HIV and HIV-related behaviours in female seasonal farm workers (FSFWs) in two provinces of Souss Massa Draa (SMD) region in Morocco. SMD has a higher burden of HIV compared with other parts of Morocco and is characterised by a substantial aggregation of FSFW.


We carried out a cross-sectional HIV biobehavioural survey using cluster-based sampling of farms in the provinces Chtouka Aït Baha and Taroudant Ouled Teïma in 2014. HIV testing was done using the Determine HIV-1/2 rapid test and reactive specimens were tested using ELISA and western blot. Collected data were post hoc weighted for region-based stratification and adjusted for clustering effects using complex survey functions of SPSS (V.21).


Among those eligible to participate, the response rate was 92.8%. HIV prevalence was 0.9% (95% CI 0.4% to 2.4%) among 520 recruited participants. A high proportion of respondents (67.7%) had no education. Ever having sex was reported by 79.8% and among these, 12.7% ever exchanged sex for money or goods. Sixty-one per cent reported condom use at most recent commercial vaginal sex in the past 12 months. STI symptom recognition was found to be low because 62.4% and 46.8% of FSFW could not report any STI symptoms in men and women, respectively. Twenty-seven per cent of respondents had an HIV test in the past 12 months. In multivariable analysis, those with primary or higher education (adjusted OR (aOR)=2.38, 95% CI 1.33 to 4.27) and those who participated in an HIV educational session at their workplace (aOR=11.00, 95% CI 3.99 to 30.31) had higher odds of ever been tested for HIV.


Although we found a relatively low HIV prevalence among FSFW in SMD, HIV interventions should be intensified, in particular, in a subgroup of women who are involved in sex work.



Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

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