Fighting HIV on all fronts: Reducing vulnerability by targeting migrants, their spouses and families in source and destination countries

Research reports and studies
March 2014
Fiona Samuels, Enisha Sarin, Mirza Manbira Sultana, Navneet Kaur
Over the past four years, the EMPHASIS (Enhancing Mobile Populations’ Access to HIV and AIDS Services, Information and Support) project has been implementing activities to address migrants’ vulnerabilities, with specific interventions for Bangladeshi and Nepali migrants at source, transit, and destination sites in India. Given the nature of migration and of HIV, it is critical to conduct cross-border initiatives and work with migrants and their families in the different locations they find themselves. EMPHASIS is one of the few projects globally that takes this approach and as such it provides a unique regional perspective on migrants’ lives and vulnerabilities.

A number of studies have been carried out alongside these interventions and this briefing presents findings from one of those studies which explored the effects of EMPHASIS on Nepali migrants (men and women) and their spouses at source and destination. Using qualitative approaches, findings show that it is critical to reach both migrants and their spouses at both source and destination sites in order to ensure that awareness is raised and that HIV-related information, referral and support services are accessed. Similarly, reaching both spouses also allows for increased communication between them, which in turn can reduce women’s vulnerability to HIV and lead to more equitable conjugal relationships. Door-to-door outreach and the formation of spouse groups at source have proven particularly effective in raising awareness and reaching women in remote areas.