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Sexual hazards for migrant workers

, : Sexual hazards for migrant workers. World Health Forum 17(3): 283-285

In-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and surveys conducted among young, single male and female factory workers in Thailand revealed an urgent need for education aimed at promoting safe sex within steady relationships. 85% of survey respondents and 95% of focus group discussants were migrants from rural areas. 63% of men and 9% of women (considered an underestimate) acknowledged sexual activity; 44% of the men reported sexual encounters with a prostitute. Condom use was reported for 83% of encounters with prostitutes, but only 4% of women and 21% of men used this protection in steady sexual relationships. 29% of the sexually experienced women reported coercion to engage in their first intercourse and 13% had been pregnant. Although 35% of females and 30% of males considered they had at least a 50% chance of becoming infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) during the next two years, their main concern was unwanted pregnancy. HIV was not viewed as a threat in steady relationships, and workers believed HIV infection could be detected visually. Recommended are measures to counter coercion in sexual encounters, address the misperception that condom use is not necessary in steady relationships, develop safe sex negotiation skills, and reduce young women's inhibitions about acknowledging their sexuality. Collaboration of factory management with the Ministry of Public Health and nongovernmental organizations and the mass media could help achieve these objectives.


PMID: 8756136

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