Sexual and HIV risk behaviour in Central and Eastern European migrants in London
Background Accession of 10 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries to the EU resulted in the largest migratory influx in peacetime British history. No information exists on the sexual behaviour of CEE migrants within the UK. The aim of this study was to assess the sexual lifestyles and health service needs of these communities.
Methods A survey, delivered electronically and available in 12 languages, of migrants from the 10 CEE accession countries recruited from community venues in London following extensive social mapping and via the Internet. Reported behaviours were compared with those from national probability survey data.
Results 2648 CEE migrants completed the survey. Male CEE migrants reported higher rates of partner acquisition (adjusted OR (aOR) 2.1, 95% CI: 1.3 to 2.1) and paying for sex (aOR 3.2, 95% CI: 2.5 to 4.0), and both male and female CEE migrants reported more injecting drug use (men: aOR 2.2, 95% CI: 1.3 to 3.9; women: aOR 3.0, 95% CI 1.1 to 8.1), than the general population; however, CEE migrants were more likely to report more consistent condom use and lower reported diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections (STI). Just over 1% of respondents reported being HIV positive. Most men and a third of women were not registered for primary care in the UK.
Discussion CEE migrants to London report high rates of behaviours associated with increased risk of HIV/STI acquisition and transmission. These results should inform service planning, identify where STI and HIV interventions should be targeted, and provide baseline data to help evaluate the effectiveness of such interventions.