Migration, Socioeconomic Milieu, and Migrants' HIV Risky Behavior: A Theoretical Framework

Xiushi Yang, Old Dominion University

The link between migration and AIDS has been well documented. But theoretical work seeking to understand the social and behavioral mechanisms underlying migrants' HIV risk-taking behavior is lacking. Most studies did not go beyond the basic epidemiological perspective. There is a general lack of sociological studies of HIV risky behavior, although AIDS epidemic is viewed as much a social as a biomedical problem. This paper presents a sociological framework for the study of migration and HIV risky behavior, paying particular attention to the importance of socioeconomic contexts surrounding migrants in understanding migrant's HIV risk-taking behavior. The underlying thesis is that migration is more than a transporter of HIV; it breeds social and behavioral changes that make migrants vulnerable to socially deviant and epidemiologically risky behavior. It is the confluence of economic marginalization, social isolation, and residential detachment experienced by migrants that is the key to understanding migrants' HIV risk-taking behavior.

Presented in Session 143: Perspectives on Migration