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Refugee mothers, migration pathways and HIV: a population-based cohort study

Wanigaratne S, Rashid M, Gagnon A, Cole DC, Shakya Y, Moineddin R, Blake J, Yudin MH, Campbell D, Ray JG, Urquia ML. AIDS Care. 2020; 32(1):30-6. Epub 2019 May 6. DOI: 10.1080/09540121.2019.1612009.

Forced migration and extended time spent migrating may lead to prolonged marginalization and increased risk of HIV. We conducted a population-based cohort study to examine whether secondary migration status, where secondary migrants resided in a transition country prior to arrival in Ontario, Canada and primary migrants arrived directly from their country of birth, modified the relationship between refugee status and HIV. Unadjusted and adjusted prevalence ratios (APR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using log-binomial regression. In sensitivity analysis, refugees with secondary migration were matched to the other three groups on country of birth, age and year of arrival (+/− 5 years) and analyzed using conditional logistic regression. Unmatched and matched models were adjusted for age and education. HIV prevalence among secondary and primary refugees and non-refugees was 1.47% (24/1629), 0.82% (112/13,640), 0.06% (7/11,571) and 0.04% (49/114,935), respectively. Secondary migration was a significant effect modifier (p-value = .02). Refugees with secondary migration were 68% more likely to have HIV than refugees with primary migration (PR = 1.68, 95% CI 1.06, 2.68; APR = 1.68, 95% 1.04, 2.71) with a stronger effect in the matched model. There was no difference among non-refugee immigrants. Secondary migration may amplify HIV risk among refugee but not non-refugee immigrant mothers.