HIV-related characteristics of migrant workers in rural South Carolina

South Med J. 1991 Sep;84(9):1088-90. doi: 10.1097/00007611-199109000-00007.


After finding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in a migrant worker named as a syphilis contact, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control offered HIV counseling and testing and syphilis screening to migrant workers in the surrounding two-county area. In addition, a brief questionnaire was administered to document demographics and risk behavior. Of the 265 workers aged 16 and older in 15 migrant camps, 198 (75%) consented to the survey and testing. Of the 198 tested, 85% were male and 75% single. The median age was 39, with a range of 16 to 69 years. Twenty-five (13%) were HIV antibody positive, and 32 (16%) had reactive serologic tests for syphilis. Of the 166 workers who reported the frequency of condom use, 77 (46%) indicated they never use condoms. We conclude that there is a relatively high rate of HIV infection in these rural South Carolina migrant workers, whose behavior puts them at risk for HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Agriculture*
  • Black People
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / epidemiology
  • HIV Seroprevalence*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rural Health*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • South Carolina / epidemiology
  • Syphilis Serodiagnosis
  • Transients and Migrants*