How Big Of A Role Does Migration Play In HIV Transmission In South Africa?

South Africa and HIV

Identifying the risk factors for HIV and STD has had a positive impact on the prevention and treatment of these serious diseases. But is migration one of those risk factors? Should we be considered about the millions of people who are migrating across South Africa and spreading HIV and other STDs? A 2003 study has investigated this very same question, so let’s find out the answer, shall we?

The role of migration in HIV transmission among those living in South Africa

Africa is one of the countries with the highest STD prevalence in the world, being one of the high burden countries as it is. A study published in 2016 has revealed that there are approximately 36.7 million people infected with HIV on an international level, with 2.1 million of those living in Africa alone. But it is not only adults that are affected by this frightening disease. Over the years, it has been suggested that 91% of the HIV-infected children are living in Africa, as well.

And it is not only HIV that we need to be worried about since there are many common STDs such as gonorrhea and syphilis that are also frequently diagnosed in Africa as well. Despite the fact that they are curable as compared to HIV, they still present an economic burden and a factor that reduces the quality of life for these individuals.

Researching common factors

Researchers have made an effort to discover the most common factors that contribute to the high HIV and STD rates in Africa. It has been revealed that people living in Africa are usually unaware of the risks that these dangerous diseases pose, but studies have also revealed that there have been many people who are very well aware of these risks and still fail to get regular check-ups and proper treatment when needed. For example, a study published in 2019 has revealed that it is the feelings of shame and fear that are preventing these people from asking for help, which is why they decide to live with the consequences in silence.

But the search for the factors that contribute to the high HIV rates has begun as early as 2003 when a study has been published in the Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Researchers have conducted the study to investigate if migration plays any role in the spreading of the HIV infection.

For the purposes of the research, 196 migrant men and 130 of their rural partners, including 64 nonmigrant men and 98 rural women, have been included in the study. The male migrants have been recruited at work in two different urban centers with their rural partners being invited to participate as well, while the nonmigrant couples have been recruited for comparison. Questionnaires and blood samples for HIV detection have been used to determine the presence of HIV infection in both migrant and nonmigrant couples.

What the study revealed was that migration is one of the high-risk factors for HIV infection, next to practicing unprotected sexual intercourse and having lived in four or more places during a lifetime. For women, being the partner of a migrant man has not been considered to be a significant risk factor for HIV. This draws attention to proper workplace interventions to prevent further spreading of HIV and other common STDs.

Conclusion

Over the years, researchers have been able to identify any high-risk factors for HIV and other common STDs. With that, they have been able to raise awareness and work to reduce the high HIV and STD rates on an international level. One of those high-risk factors for HIV has been migration, especially in South Africa. With that, we are one step closer to causing a significant decline in the STD and HIV prevalence and preserving people’s lives.

References

https://www.amfar.org/worldwide-aids-stats/

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-hiv-africa#fnref1

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/authors?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0223414

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/10918165_The_Impact_of_Migration_on_HIV-1_Transmission_in_South_Africa

1 in 9 Men Has Oral HPV

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the US. In fact, most sexually active men and women will contract HPV at some point in their life. More than 100 types of HPV have been identified so far, and more than 40 subtypes of the virus can infect one’s throat and genital region. Oral HPV is transmitted through oral sex, and it is one of the most prevalent forms of the virus. The latest figures show that one in nine American men is infected with oral HPV, which is a major reason for concern.

Prevalence of oral HPV among American men

Even though the prevalence of HPV-positive OPSCC (oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma) is high among men, the evidence about the difference in the prevalence of oral HPV among men and women is limited. The lack of data prevents scientists and healthcare providers from proposing adequate measures to lower the prevalence rates.

What’s more, concordance of genital and oral HPV among African men is still unknown. To get more insight into the subject and gain knowledge about the prevalence of oral HPV, Ashish A. Deshmukh, and a team of scientists at the University of Florida carried out an important study. Deshmukh and his team used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to analyze the rates of oral HPV and compare how many women and men are infected with this virus. Participants who took part in this large study were between 18 and 69 years old.

The results of the study were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and they showed that 11.5% of participants had HPV. Expectedly, the prevalence of both low- and high-risk HPV was higher in men than in women. For example, only 1.4% of women were infected with high-risk HPV, while 7.3% of men had this sexually transmitted infection. Both men and women from the 50-54 age group had a higher prevalence of the virus compared to their younger and older counterparts.

Findings also showed that 11 million men had oral HPV or one in nine men to be more precise. On the other hand, only 3.2 million women had this type of virus. It is still not clear why HPV is more frequent in men than in women.

Increasing rates of high-risk HPV

As mentioned above, men are more prone to high-risk HPV, and scientists just discovered how common this virus really is. They discovered that the most prevalent high-risk type of the virus, HPV 16, was six times higher in men than in women with a ratio of 1.8% vs. 0.3%.

The HPV 16 is a major contributor to cancers of the head and neck. These figures could also explain the rise incidence of oropharyngeal cancer. The rates of this cancer have increased by more than 300% during the last four decades, thus making it the most frequent HPV-related cancer in the country.

Other findings

Along with shocking findings of the prevalence of oral HPV and high-risk virus strains, scientists made other important discoveries too:

  • High-risk oral HPV was strongly linked with cigarette smoking and marijuana use
  • In 2016, 60% of teens ages 13-17 received at least one or more doses of HPV vaccine
  • Oral HPV is more prevalent in African-American men than in white men
  • The highest rates of oral HPV were found in men who reported having sexual intercourse with multiple partners, men with genital HPV, and men who had sex with other men

Conclusion

The latest study discovered that not only HPV is more prevalent in men, but oral HPV affects one in nine American men. At this point, scientists aren’t sure why the virus is more prevalent among men than in women, but risk factors include same-sex with other men, smoking (both cigarettes and marijuana), engaging in sexual intercourse with multiple partners.

References

http://annals.org/aim/article/2657698/oral-human-papillomavirus-infection-differences-prevalence-between-sexes-concordance-genital

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/16/health/oral-hpv-infections-men-study/index.html

http://time.com/4983675/human-papillomavirus-oral-hpv/