HIV Infection, Marital Dissolution, and Migration in Malawi

Philip A. Anglewicz, University of Pennsylvania

Research on the relationship between migration and HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa often shows that migrants are at higher risk of HIV infection because they are more likely to engage in risk behavior than non-migrants, and tend to move to areas of higher HIV prevalence. Instead of focusing on ways in which migration is an individual risk factor of HIV infection, I examine the possibility that HIV infection leads to migration. Using a longitudinal dataset of rural residents and migrants from Malawi, I find that migrants originating from rural areas are indeed more likely than non-migrants to be HIV positive and to have engaged in HIV risk behavior. However, HIV positive individuals are also more likely to migrate than HIV negative individuals. The explanation for this phenomenon appears to be marital instability, which occurs more frequently among HIV positive individuals and leads to migration after marital dissolution.

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Presented in Session 10: Demographic Implications of HIV/AIDS