Valeska Padovese


Consultant Dermatovenereologist at Genito-urinary Clinic, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Mater Dei Hospital, Malta

External Advisor International Foundation for Dermatology, Migrants Health Working Group.

Currently, an estimated 70.8 million individuals worldwide are forcibly displaced due to war, violence and persecution. Among them, were many migrants and refugees at risk of sex/gender-based violence (S/GBV). There are many barriers to provide sexual health in migrants and refugees, namely the large number of affected people, their movement within and across international borders, security issues, lack of trained staff and limited access to testing and medication. Duration, pathways of migration and access to care impact significantly on migrant’s sexual health.

The HIV epidemic in Europe is characterized by a disproportionate number of infections among migrants with an estimated 37% of new HIV diagnoses acquired post-migration. Migrants usually present late, have poor HIV treatment outcomes and are likely to transmit to contacts if undiagnosed. Access to HIV care remains a challenge in many European countries, which results in increased stigma and discrimination, discouragement from testing and enhanced transmission.  Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are often increased in migrants with risky behaviours or due to sexual abuse during the transit phase. Contributing factors to STIs/HIV infection are social inequalities associated with migration (e.g. low income, unemployment, poor housing), human trafficking, HIV‐related stigma and discrimination, and changes in sexual behaviour after migration. Screening policies concerning STIs/HIV in migrants are not uniform across Europe, raising the need for shared guidelines to assess migrant’s health at arrival in the host country, in camps or in transit.

The author carried out a review of the literature of STIs/HIV in migrants and displaced persons, highlighting the impact of social determinants and challenges faced in providing care.

34 IUSTI Congress - European Congres on Sexually transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS
Bucharest, September 3-5,