Wives of migrant workers at higher risk of HIV in Nepal

May 23, 2017, INASP
Local women queuing up for a free HIV test in Kapilvastu, one of the key districts of Nepal with large numbers of migrant workers. Credit: AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Travelling abroad to work or study has become a national trend in Nepal, especially in the young male population. Over three million Nepali migrant workers are in the Middle East, Malaysia and India. Particularly in India and in Malaysia, migrant workers are involved in risky sexual practices which may have health consequences to their wives as well.

A recent study published in SAARC Journal of Tuberculosis, Lung Diseases & HIV/AIDS shows that wives of migrant workers in Nepal are at a higher risk of HIV, not because they are not aware of it but because they are scared to ask their about their potentially risky sexual behaviour while abroad. The article is freely available online on the NepJOL platform, which is supported by INASP.

"Two-thirds of the research participants had generally good knowledge of HIV and its mode of transmission, but half of them could not ask their husbands about their potentially unsafe sexual practices while abroad," says Nirmal Aryal, one of the authors of the article and currently a PhD Scholar at the Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand. This study was carried out by the University of Aberdeen, UK.

The research involved interviewing 182 women in two rural villages of Nepal to identify the level of knowledge and attitude of female spouses of Nepali migrant workers on HIV and (STIs) and their understanding on migration-related risky sexual behaviours of their husbands while abroad.

Dr Pramod Regmi, co-author on this article and based at Bournemouth University (UK) summarizes the study's findings as, "knowledge alone would not be sufficient to fight against the spread of HIV/STI among wives of ."

Along with raising awareness for safer , "it is incredibly important to give attention towards 'cultural barriers' to negotiate safer sex as well such as uneven power relationships in sexual relationships between husband and wife, and a dearth of awareness on sexual roles and rights of women," adds Aryal.

Explore further: Research links high prevalence of HIV among migrant workers from western Nepal to lack of technical schools

More information: N Aryal et al. Knowing is Not Enough: Migrant Workers' Spouses Vulnerability to HIV, SAARC Journal of Tuberculosis, Lung Diseases and HIV/AIDS (2017). DOI: 10.3126/saarctb.v13i1.16923

Related Stories

Research links high prevalence of HIV among migrant workers from western Nepal to lack of technical schools

November 10, 2016
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a global health problem, especially affecting developing countries due to lack of education and awareness of the possible means of transmission. HIV has remained as a big problem in Nepal's ...

Substantial numbers of British adults find new sexual partners while travelling abroad

June 6, 2016
Substantial numbers of British adults find new sexual partners while travelling abroad, find two studies, published online in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Age of first sexual intercourse may impact teens' risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections

December 22, 2015
A new study shows that earlier initiation of sexual intercourse increases the odds of experiencing sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Also, if the age at the time of first sexual intercourse is during or near to an adolescent's ...

Recommended for you

New simulation tool predicts how well HIV-prophylaxis will work

June 14, 2018
A new mathematical simulation approach predicts the efficacy of pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications, which help prevent HIV infection. The framework, presented in PLOS Computational Biology by Sulav Duwal ...

Many at risk for HIV despite lifesaving pill

June 11, 2018
Multiple barriers may stop high-risk individuals from accessing an HIV drug that can reduce the subsequent risk of infection, according to a new University of Michigan study.

Active HIV in large white blood cells may drive cognitive impairment in infected mice

June 7, 2018
Macrophages, large white blood cells that engulf and destroy potential pathogens, harbor active viral reserves that appear to play a key role in impaired learning and memory in mice infected with a rodent version of HIV. ...

HIV vaccine elicits antibodies in animals that neutralize dozens of HIV strains

June 4, 2018
An experimental vaccine regimen based on the structure of a vulnerable site on HIV elicited antibodies in mice, guinea pigs and monkeys that neutralize dozens of HIV strains from around the world. The findings were reported ...

HIV study reveals new group of men at risk of infection

June 4, 2018
A group of men who may be underestimating their HIV risk has been identified in a new study.

Discovery reveals how cells try to control levels of key HIV protein

May 31, 2018
One of the many challenges in treating HIV is that the virus can lie dormant in cells, quietly evading immune detection until it suddenly roars to life without warning and begins replicating furiously. Salk Institute researchers ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.