The purpose of this study was to analyze the sexual behavior, perceived risk of contracting STIs and HIV/AIDS, and protective behaviors of migrant workers aged 14–19 years in carpet and garment factories in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. A common assumption in Nepal is that young migrant workers experience an increase in vulnerability. Moving away from the social controls of family and community, they become exposed to a mixed-gender environment and therefore might initiate sex earlier or have more casual encounters than might otherwise be the case. The analysis is based on a representative sample survey of 1050 factory workers. Information was also obtained from 23 in-depth case histories. Both bivarite and multivariate techniques were applied to identify the factors associated with involvement in risky sexual behavior. Despite religious and cultural restrictions, one in five boys and one in eight unmarried girls reported experience of sexual intercourse. Early sexual experimentation, multiple partners, and low and irregular use of condoms are not uncommon. Instances of sexual exploitation by factory owners or managers were documented but were rare. Most nonregular sex partners were described as friends from the same factory or community. Despite high-risk behavior, relatively few young people considered themselves to be at risk of getting STIs or HIV/AIDS. Information on the possible consequences of unsafe sex is inadequate. It was concluded that programs aimed at promotion of safer sex practices and life skill training that facilitates communication and utilization of sexual health services should target vulnerable migrant young people.
Puri, M.; Cleland, J. Sexual behavior and perceived risk of HIV/AIDS among young migrant factory workers in Nepal. Journal of Adolescent Health (2004) 38 (3) 237-246. [DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2004.10.001]