Migration, HIV/AIDS Knowledge, Perception of Risk and Condom Use in the Senegal River Valley

  • Richard Lalou
  • Victor Piché
  • Florence Waïtzenegger
Part of the International Studies in Population book series (ISIP, volume 6)

Literature on AIDS has shown associations between migration and HIV infection. Yet the various types of mobility and different social contexts that characterize migration and non-migration are what tend to determine risk and sexual behaviour. Thus, it is important to acknowledge the diversity of migration and non-migration situations and to examine how migration affects HIV/AIDS knowledge, perception of risk and sexual behaviour. This study is based on a survey carried out in 2000 in the Senegal River valley (Sénégal). We investigated the impact of different types of migration on HIV/AIDS knowledge, perception of risk, and protective behaviour both in origin and destination areas. We explored whether migration experiences influenced HIV/AIDS awareness in various ways, either through diffusion of information and/or through contact with the epidemic. Our analysis shows that in the Senegal River valley, internal and international migrants were not better informed about HIV/AIDS than the non-migrant population in the origin area. However, international migrants were more likely to use condoms in the host countries where they engaged in risky sexual behaviour than in their home communities. Back home, the protective strategy of international migrants was fidelity rather than condom use. By these means, migrants both conformed to social norms and avoided the risk of being stigmatized. While international migrants were considered by their origin community to be a high risk-group, upon returning the international migrants themselves believed the risk of infection, which they associated with “others” and with “foreigners”, to be behind them. As they were not engaged in risky sexual behaviours in their home area, they did not perceive themselves to be at risk of infection. By contrast, internal migrants, who perceived themselves at risk, were more likely to use condoms than were non-migrants. They attributed the risk of infection more to the sexual encounter than to “others”. The constancy of their perception of personal risk (which stems from continuing risky sexual behaviour) could explain the regular use of condoms during migration and upon their return. These findings indicate that there was no direct link between knowledge of the disease and condom use. The gap existing between knowledge and behaviour (particularly among international migrants) is largely the result of differences in the perception of the risk of infection and in socio-cultural constraints.


Sexual Behaviour Risk Behaviour Sexually Transmit Infection International Migrant Risky Sexual Behaviour 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Lalou
    • 1
  • Victor Piché
    • 2
  • Florence Waïtzenegger
  1. 1.Université-de ProvenceSénégal
  2. 2.Département de démographieUniversité de MontréalCanada

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