HIV prevalence, risk perception, and correlates of risky sexual practice among migrant workers in Northwest Ethiopia


  • Belaynew Wasie
  • Kassa Tiruneh
  • Wondimu Gebeyehu
  • Endalkachew Desalegn
  • Fantahun Tadesse
  • Kidane Kiros


Abstract Background: Migrant laborers exhibit high risk sexual behaviors. This is believed to facilitate HIV transmission. Objective: To determine the prevalence of HIV, risk perception, and correlates of risky sexual behavior among migrant laborers in Northwest Ethiopia. Methods: A community-based cross-sectional survey was carried out along with qualitative in-depth and key informant interviews in March 2014. A total of 626 workers from three development project sites were randomly selected and were involved in the study. Blood sera from 561(90 %) of the samples were tested for HIV at the Regional Health Research Laboratory Center. While binary logistic regression was employed to identify independent predictors of risky sexual practice, qualitative data helped to explain the risk factors for HIV infection among migrant workers. Results: The median, ± inter quartile range (IQR), age of workers was 22 (+ 6) years. HIV prevalence among the study population was found to be 0.53%. The majority (81.4%) of study participants perceived that they have low (49.5%) or no (31.9%) risk to acquire HIV. In the last 12 months, 52 (17%) workers reported to have had casual sex with two or more non-marital partners. The prevalence of consistent condom use was found to be 16.9%. Risky sexual practice among migrant workers was independently associated with being female (AOR= 0.32, 95% CI: 0.15, 0.65), the need to save money (AOR=0.46, 95%CI: 0.24, 0.87), low perceived risk of HIV (AOR= 4.5, 95%CI: 1.62,12.77), drinking alcohol (AOR=8.96, 95%CI: 3.27, 24.57), perceived effectiveness of condoms (AOR=4.16, 95%CI: 1.48, 11.75), and discussion about HIV/AIDS with partner (AOR = 0.2, 95%CI: 0.11, 0.39). Living and working conditions, changes in sexual behavior at the destination, lack of condoms, low perceived risk of HIV, and multiple sex partners were risk factors for HIV. Conclusions: In this study, HIV prevalence among migrant laborers was much lower (0.53%) than the national and regional averages despite low risk perception, multiple sexual partners, relatively low consistent condom use. This is an opportune moment to maximize prevention efforts among migrant workers so that prevalence remains low. Education and counseling services at the place of origin as well as the project site may improve risk perception, and access to condoms. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2015;29 (2):90-98]



How to Cite

Wasie, B., Tiruneh, K., Gebeyehu, W., Desalegn, E., Tadesse, F., & Kiros, K. (2016). HIV prevalence, risk perception, and correlates of risky sexual practice among migrant workers in Northwest Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 29(2), PDF. Retrieved from