Disassortative sexual mixing among migrant populations in The Netherlands: a potential for HIV/STI transmission?AIDS Care. 2009 Jun; 21(6):683-91.AC
To gain insight into the transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) among large migrant groups in The Netherlands, we studied the associations between their demographic and sexual characteristics, in particular condom use, and their sexual mixing patterns with other ethnic groups. In 2002-2005, cross-sectional surveys were conducted among migrants from Surinam (Afro- and Hindo-), the Netherlands Antilles, Cape Verde, and Ghana at social venues in three large cities. A questionnaire was administrated and a saliva sample was collected for HIV antibody testing. Of 2105 migrants recruited, 1680 reported sexual contacts, of whom 41% mixed sexually with other ethnicities, including the indigenous Dutch population. Such disassortative mixing was associated with being second-generation migrant, having several sexual partners, and having a steady and concurrent casual partner. Less disassortative mixing occurred in participants reporting visiting the country of origin. The association between condom use and sexual mixing differed by gender, with men using condoms inconsistently being most likely to be mixing with the Dutch indigenous population. HIV infection and recent STI treatment were not associated with disassortative mixing. This study shows substantial sexual mixing among migrant groups. Since disassortative mixing is more prevalent in second-generation migrants, it might increase in the upcoming years. The mixing patterns in relation to concurrency and the reported condom use in this study suggest a possibly increased level of HIV/STI transmission not only within migrant groups but also between migrant groups, especially via men who mix with the indigenous population and via migrant women who mix with non-Dutch casual partners. Although the observed HIV prevalence in migrants (0.6%) is probably too low to lead to much HIV transmission between ethnicity groups, targeted prevention measures are needed to prevent transmission of other STI.