Population Research and Policy Review 18: 155–168, 1999.
© 1999 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
The effect of migration patterns on exposure to HIV prevention in
a migrant community
H. VIRGINIA McCOY
, NORMAN WEATHERBY
& ZHINUAN YU
Florida International University, North Miami, FL, USA;
University of Miami School of
Abstract. This study examined the effects of migratory stream patterns on the amount of
exposure to HIV prevention. It was hypothesized that fewer number of moves, a homebase
in Collier County, Florida, greater number of years lived in Collier County, and having ﬁeld-
related jobs increase the potential for exposure to HIV prevention. Rural drug users and their
sex partners were recruited from migrant camps in Collier County. Each camp was randomly
assigned to either a Standard group or an Enhanced group. Descriptive analyses and multiple
regression analyses were conducted to examine the effects of migration patterns on exposure
(measured by the total number of contacts subjects had with study personnel) while controlling
for demographic characteristics. A separate model was analyzed for the Standard group and
the Enhanced group. The analysis revealed that being female, having lived in Collier County
for a longer period of time, having a ﬁeld-related job, and moving fewer times during the
previous three years were signiﬁcantly related to greater exposure to the HIV prevention
intervention. The current study identiﬁes a subgroup of migrants who are at high risk for de-
privation of HIV-related information. Intervention efforts need to be targeted toward migrants
who are male, have lived in Collier County for a short period of time, move frequently during
agricultural seasons, or who are unemployed, prostitutes, or have other non-ﬁeld-related jobs.
Keywords: Exposure, Farm workers, HIV information, HIV prevention, Migrants
AIDS rates among migrant laborers and seasonal farmworkers in the United
States are rapidly increasing (Organista & Organista 1997). Recent studies
have reported HIV infection rates in the US migrant population ranging from
2.6% for the general population to 13% for migrant drug users (Weatherby
et al. 1995). The three states with the most farmworkers (Texas, California,
Florida) have more than one-third of the AIDS cases in the US (Bletzer 1995).
In Florida, screening at 14 migrant farmworker labor camps during the peak
season revealed a 5% HIV prevalence rate (CDC 1992), a ﬁgure that was
higher than the previous Florida report of 3.5% (Castro et al. 1988).
The environment and circumstances surrounding migration and migratory
behavior are conducive to the transmission of HIV (Wolffers & Fernandez