Mobility among youth in Rakai, Uganda: Trends, characteristics, and associations with behavioural risk factors for HIV

Ashley C. Schuyler, Zoe R. Edelstein, Sanyukta Mathur, Joseph Sekasanvu, Fred Nalugoda, Ronald Gray, Maria J. Wawer, David M. Serwadda, John S. Santelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Mobility, including migration and travel, influences risk of HIV. This study examined time trends and characteristics among mobile youth (15–24 years) in rural Uganda, and the relationship between mobility and risk factors for HIV. We used data from an annual household census and population-based cohort study in the Rakai district, Uganda. Data on in-migration and out-migration were collected among youth (15–24 years) from 43 communities from 1999 to 2011 (N = 112,117 observations) and travel among youth residents from 2003 to 2008 (N = 18,318 observations). Migration and travel were more common among young women than young men. One in five youth reported out-migration. Over time, out-migration increased among youth and in-migration remained largely stable. Primary reasons for migration included work, living with friends or family, and marriage. Recent travel within Uganda was common and increased slightly over time in teen women (15–19 years old), and young adult men and women (20–24 years old). Mobile youth were more likely to report HIV-risk behaviours including: alcohol use, sexual experience, multiple partners, and inconsistent condom use. Our findings suggest that among rural Ugandan youth, mobility is increasingly common and associated with HIV-risk factors. Knowledge of patterns and characteristics of a young, high-risk mobile population has important implications for HIV interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1033-1050
Number of pages18
JournalGlobal public health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 3 2017


  • Migration
  • Uganda
  • mobility
  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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