Prevalence of Untreated HIV and Associated Risk Behaviors Among the Sexual Partners of Recent Migrants and Long-term Residents in Rakai, Uganda

Jennifer E. Brophy, Justin Lessler, Robert Ssekubugu, Caitlin E. Kennedy, Larry W. Chang, Godfrey Kigozi, Anthony Ndyanabo, Grace Kigozi, Fred Nalugoda, Ronald H. Gray, Maria J. Wawer, David M. Serwadda, Steven J. Reynolds, Joseph Kagaayi, Mary K. Grabowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:Migrants in sub-Saharan Africa are at increased risk of HIV acquisition after migration, but little is known about their sexual partners at place of destination.Setting:Rakai Community Cohort Study (RCCS) in Uganda.Methods:From 1999 to 2016, persons aged 15-49 years were surveyed in the RCCS and reported on their 4 most recent sexual partners in the last year. We compared the characteristics of sexual partners reported by migrants moving into RCCS communities in the last 2 years (ie, in-migrants) with those of long-term residents with no recent migration history. Among a subset of participants in cohabitating epidemiologically linked couples of known HIV serostatus, we also assessed prevalence of having ≥1 untreated HIV-positive partner among in-migrants and long-term residents.Results:One hundred sixteen thousand seven hundred forty-four sexual partners were reported by 29,423 participants. The sexual partnerships of in-migrants were significantly less likely to be marital, more likely to span community boundaries, and shorter in duration than those of long-term residents. In-migrants also reported more sexual partners and were less likely to know their partner's HIV status or to have told their partner their HIV status. Among 7558 epidemiologically linked couples, HIV-negative in-migrants were more likely to partner with untreated HIV-positive persons compared with HIV-negative long-term residents (women: 6.3% vs. 4.1%; prevalence risk ratio = 1.77, 95% confidence interval: 1.49 to 2.11; men: 6.9% vs. 3.9%; prevalence risk ratio = 1.72, 95% confidence interval: 1.38-2.14).Conclusion:There is a higher frequency of risky sexual behaviors among the partnerships of in-migrants compared with those of long-term residents. Among cohabitating couples, in-migrants are more likely to partner with untreated HIV-positive individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-251
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • HIV
  • Uganda
  • antiretroviral therapy
  • epidemiology
  • migration
  • mobility
  • networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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