Ever since Aids appeared, migration has been thought to be a driving force behind the epidemic. The disease is often represented either as an “imported pathology”, migrants being the disease (or at least risk), carriers or as a “pathology of adaptation”. Migrants, mainly young men who move around to find work, are subjected to the constraints of a new environment they find in the host region or country. They therefore become economically, socially and emotionally more vulnerable. This situation encourages changes in their sexual behaviour, like multiplication of casual partners and resorting to prostitutes.
Demographers Richard Lalou (IRD) (1) and Victor Piché (University of Montreal) focused on this relation between mobility and sexual behaviour. Findings of surveys performed in 2000 in the River Senegal Valley, among 1320 persons aged between 15 and 49 years old, provided data on the routes taken by the migrants and their personal situations. The ability of these migrants to handle sexual risks of transmitting HIV differed according to the social contexts of the communities they were going back into.
Two locations with highly contrasting social situations were studied: the urban centre of Richard-Toll (in the lower valley) and the rural area of Matam (in the middle of the valley). At Richard-Toll international emigration was turned towards countries having low HIV prevalence (Mauritania), whereas the Matam area is the source of substantial international emigration towards countries with higher prevalence (Ivory Coast, Central Africa).
Marie Guillaume | alfa
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