Migrant men: a priority for HIV control in Pakistan?
- 1Arjumand and Associates, House 116, Street 20, F-10/2, Islamabad, Pakistan
- 2Centre for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 49–50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP, UK
- Correspondence to: Dr John Cleland Centre for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 49–50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP, UK;
- Accepted 18 January 2006
Objectives: To assess sexual risk behaviour and prevalence of treatable sexually transmitted infections (STI) in migrant male workers in Lahore, Pakistan.
Methods: Behavioural interviews were conducted on a representative sample of 590 migrant men aged 20–49 years. Biological samples were collected from a subsample of 190 and tested for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis.
Results: Over half (55%) of single men were sexually experienced and 36% of married men reported premarital sex. The median ages at first intercourse and first marriage were 21 years and 28 years, respectively. In the total sample (including virgins), 13% reported any female non-marital partner in the past 12 months, 7% contact with a female sex worker, and 2% sex with a man. Only 10% reported using a condom during most recent contact with a sex worker. STI symptoms in the past 3 months were reported by 8% of men. Laboratory tests disclosed that STI prevalence was 3.2%.
Conclusions: If and when HIV infection spreads among sex workers in Lahore, the reported behaviour of migrant men suggests that they may act as a conduit for further transmission to the general population. Condom promotion focused on the sex trade is likely to be the most effective way of reducing this risk.
- IDU, injecting drug users
- PCR, polymerase chain reaction
- RPR, rapid protein reagin
- STI, sexually transmitted infections
- TPHA, Treponema pallidum haemagglutination assay