Examining sexual risk, HIV infection and health services use: a cluster analysis with sub-Saharan African migrants

S. Dias, A. Gama, P. Abrantes, O. Akpogheneta, V. Reigado, A. Ferreira, E. Carreiras, C. Mora, Daniel Simoes, M. Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Migrants from countries with generalised HIV epidemics have been disproportionally affected by HIV/AIDS. Post-migration context may be conducive to sexual risky behaviours. In addition, social exclusion often translates in lesser means of protection, increased HIV risk and limited access to health services. This study aimed to examine sexual risk behaviours, HIV prevalence and use of health services among a sub-Saharan African migrant (sSAM) population in Portugal.

Within a participatory research approach, a cross-sectional bio-behavioural survey was conducted with 790 sSAMs (58% male) living in Portugal. All respondents had a HIV rapid test. Hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted to identify profiles of sexual risk behaviour linked with HIV infection and use of health services.

Five clusters with different levels of sexual risk, high HIV/STI prevalence rates and disparate use of health services were identified. Clusters 2 and 5 (53.3% and 15.2% of the total sample, respectively) reported the highest sexual risk, with all individuals reporting inconsistent condom use. Overall, 17.6% reported concurrent partnerships, all from cluster 5. HIV prevalence (reactive result to rapid test) was 5.4%, varying between 2.5% in cluster 5 and 11.3% in cluster 1; 16.7% reported STI diagnosis ever, being higher in cluster 5 (27.5%) and cluster 2 (17.6%). Participants who never attended a sexual and reproductive health consultation (52.2%) represented the majority in almost all clusters. In addition, 51.4% had never been tested for HIV; in all subgroups we found low rates of HIV testing and high unawareness of HIV serostatus. Heterogeneity was found within sSAMs, with contrasting high levels of sexual risk and HIV/STI.

This population deserves attention given the great vulnerability to HIV infection. The low proportion of sSAMs attending a SRH consultation and having HIV testing highlight the need to promote use of health services among this population.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5.5-O3
Pages (from-to)82-83
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue numbersuppl_1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2018


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