Valeska Padovese~*, Alexandra Gauci Farrugia~, Donia Gamoudi~, Katya Muscat~, Aaron Schembri~, Isotta Rossoni# ^
~Genitourinary Clinic, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Mater Dei Hospital, Malta
* International Foundation for Dermatology, Migrant Health Working Group
#Department of Criminology, University of Malta, Malta
^Italian Centre for the Promotion of Mediation (CIPM), Milan, Italy
Objectives: In Europe, migrants face a disproportionate burden of infectious diseases, including Hepatitis B and C, HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). High risk behaviours, sexual abuse, poor living conditions and barriers to accessing health services may affect migrants’ sexual health and lead to acquisition of infections. The study aims at evaluating STIs and HIV prevalence and Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) in non-European migrants attending the genitourinary clinic (GUC) in Malta. It also gives insight into human trafficking (HT), sex/gender-based violence (S/GBV) and female genital mutilations (FGM).
Methods: This is a mixed-methodology study, based on quantitative and qualitative research within a single centre. In the framework of the EU Project CAPTIVE (Cultural Agent Promoting & Targeting Interventions vs Violence & Enslavement), an anonymous pre-tested and semi-structured questionnaire was administered between January and June 2019 to a cohort of non-European migrants with the assistance of an ethno-cultural agent. Demographics, STIs diagnoses and risk behaviours were collected from the GUC database, linked to the questionnaires and analysed.
Results: A total of 143 migrants took part in the study, 73% were young male aged 19-39, and 16.7% men who have sex with men (MSM). 41 different nationalities were recorded and the most frequent were Nigerian (12%), Filipino (7.4%) and Chinese (5.4%). Concerning risk behaviours, 33.8% of responders had never used a condom and 76.5% had had sex with multiple partners in the 6 months prior to the study. STIs prevalence was 73.1%. 8 patients were HIV positive (5.6%); they were male aged 23-39, 4 were MSM and all presented with clinical symptoms. Of the patients interviewed, 6 females were Chinese sex workers employed in massage parlours, probably trafficked to Malta.
Conclusions: The study outcomes support the need for increasing awareness about STIs/HIV risk and testing. More efforts should be made to establish a common European standard for migrants’ sexual health testing at reception and during settlement. In migrants at particularly high risk for HIV, combination prevention strategies should include access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and antiretrovirals irrespective of migrants’ legal status. Finally, STIs/HIV prevention in migrants should be linked with interventions tackling HT and other forms of S/GBV.
34 IUSTI Congress - European Congres on Sexually transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS
TAMING THE TIDE of STIs & HIV
Bucharest, September 3-5,