HIV-related sexual behaviour among migrants and non-migrants in a rural area of China: role of rural-to-urban migration

Public Health. 2006 Apr;120(4):339-45. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2005.10.016. Epub 2006 Feb 13.


Objective: To compare human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related sexual risks between temporary rural-to-urban migrants and non-migrants, and to explore the role of migration in HIV transmission in a rural area of China.

Study design: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 605 (302.5 couples, one male missing) marriage licence applicants.

Methods: A two-part anonymous questionnaire was used. The first part included non-sensitive questions including demographics and HIV knowledge. Sensitive questions related to sexual behaviours were administered in the second part of the questionnaire using a tape recorder, earphones and an answer sheet.

Results: Sixty-six percent (399/605) of the study subjects had migrated to a city for a temporary job. The proportions of migrants who had premarital sex (62%, 247/399) and multiple sexual partners (12%, 47/399) were significantly higher than those of non-migrants (52 and 6%, respectively). Among those who had multiple sexual partners, only 9% (4/47) of migrants and 8% (1/12) of non-migrants reported often or always using condoms with sexual partners other than their spouse. A low level of knowledge regarding HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome was observed in both groups. Very few migrants (15%, 61/399) and non-migrants (10%, 20/206) perceived themselves to be at risk of HIV infection.

Conclusions: As both migrants and non-migrants are at risk of HIV infection, intervention programmes targeting reduction of HIV sexual risk behaviour should cover both groups in rural areas of China.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • China / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Transients and Migrants / psychology*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*