AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1396–1430 | Cite as

Effects of Migration on Risky Sexual Behavior and HIV Acquisition in South Africa: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, 2000–2017

  • Armstrong DzombaEmail author
  • Andrew Tomita
  • Kaymarlin Govender
  • Frank Tanser
Substantive Review


While human mobility has been implicated in fueling the HIV epidemic in South Africa, the link between migration and HIV has not been systematically reviewed and quantified. We conducted a systematic review of the role of migration in HIV risk acquisition and sexual behaviour based on 29 studies published between 2000 and 2017. Furthermore, we performed a meta-analysis of the association between migration and HIV risk acquisition in four of the studies that used HIV incidence as an outcome measure. The systematic review results show that HIV acquisition and risky sexual behavior were more prevalent among both male and female migrants compared to their non-migrant counterparts. The meta-analysis results demonstrate that migration was significantly associated with increased HIV acquisition risk (aOR = 1.69, 95% CI 1.33–2.14; I2 = 35.0%). There is an urgent need for effective combination HIV prevention strategies (comprising biomedical, behavioral and structural interventions) that target migrant populations.


Risky sexual behaviour Multiple sexual partnerships Risk of HIV acquisition Migration Meta-analysis 



This research was funded through a Medical Research Council flagship grant from the Republic of South Africa (MRC-RFA-UFSP-01-2013/UKZN HIVEPI). The study design, findings, interpretation of data and conclusions in this paper are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the official positions of MRC South Africa or any other surrogate organization.


This study was funded through a Medical Research Council flagship grant from the Republic of South Africa (MRC-RFA-UFSP-01-2013/UKZN HIVEPI).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The Biomedical Research Ethics Committee of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (BREC) Durban, South Africa, gave full ethics approval for this study.

Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Armstrong Dzomba
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  • Andrew Tomita
    • 1
    • 6
    • 7
  • Kaymarlin Govender
    • 5
  • Frank Tanser
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Africa Health Research InstituteDurbanSouth Africa
  2. 2.School of Nursing and Public HealthUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa
  3. 3.Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA)University of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa
  4. 4.Research Department of Infection and Population HealthUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD)University of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa
  6. 6.KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP), College of Health SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa
  7. 7.Centre for Rural Health, School of Nursing and Public HealthUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa

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