Labor Migration, Spousal Communication and HIV/STD Risk Perceptions and Prevention

Boaventura Cau, Arizona State University

Spousal communication may serve as an important vehicle through which marital partners navigate HIV/STD risks and negotiate prevention. However, the sensitive nature of HIV/STD complicates such communication. This complexity is magnified in rural households where the husband migrates for work and the wife stays behind. On the one hand, the widespread beliefs that migration raises HIV/STD risks makes such communication potentially more valuable for these couples, but on the other hand, prolonged physical separation and social distancing that typically accompany men’s labor out-migration hinder it further. Using quantitative and qualitative data collected in rural areas of southern Mozambique, this study examines: a) the context and nature of spousal communication on sexual and HIV/STD matters between labor migrants and their non-migrating wives; b) cultural norms and social constraints that circumscribe such communication; and c) the influence of such communication on women’s perceptions of HIV/STD risks and preventive actions.

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Presented in Poster Session 7