HIV PREVENTION AMONG INTERNATIONAL YOUNG MIGRANTS: PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS
References: 4th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on Social Sciences and Arts SGEM2017, www.sgemvienna.org, SGEM2017 Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7105-95-7 / ISSN 2367-5659, March 28-31, Book3, Vol.1, 499-506 pp, DOI:10.5593/SGEMSOCIAL2017/HB31/S13.062
In recent years, there has been a trend of increasing cases of HIV infection in Russia. According to the latest published epidemiological data (31.12.2014), the cumulative number of reported HIV cases among Russian citizens constituted 907607 and the number of new HIV cases was 85252 (Federal AIDS Center). In opinion of experts, a new growth of the HIV epidemic is associated with the migration process. The largest metropolises (Moscow and St. Petersburg) are facing new migration challenges. Migrants, as well as drug users and commercial sex-workers, are becoming one of the key HIV risk groups. In St. Petersburg, among migrants living with HIV, there are citizens of Ukraine (29.8%), Uzbekistan (28.5%), Moldova (12.4%), and Tajikistan (6.4%). The paper presents the results of a study which was conducted in St. Petersburg. To evaluate the HIV risk and prevention programs among international migrants, several methods have been used: analysis of statistical data, interviews with public health experts (N=6), HIV risk assessment of international migrants (N=250), and interviews with migrants on health issuers (N=10). The results show that international migrants are not sufficiently involved in HIV prevention programs. (1) There is a lack of information about HIV/AIDS for migrants; comprehensive information is available on the website of AIDS center, but the majority of migrants never visit this site. (2) Level of Russian language is rather poor among international migrants, whereas the information about HIV/AIDS is distributed in Russian. (3) HIV-stigma and discrimination continue to be a significant barrier to HIV / AIDS prevention. Various forms of discrimination (including humiliation, violation of the rights of HIV-infected individuals) take place in Russia and in the counties where migrants have come from. (4) In case of international migrants, the situation with HIV prevention is exacerbated by the national and cultural characteristics. Many migrants come from Muslim countries, where discussion of sexual behavior is often tabooed. In Russia, it is necessary to develop HIV prevention programs aimed at international migrants. These programs must take into account cultural peculiarities of migrants and should be realized on the base of ethnic communities and diasporas; in many cases, gender principle has to be implemented (women provide HIV prevention activities to women, men - to men). To increase the efficiency of HIV prevention, some programs have to be developed in the native languages of migrants. Overcoming HIV stigma and discrimination should become part of any prevention program.
Keywords: international migrants, HIV prevention, public health experts, Russia.
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