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The Role of Origin and Destination Site in HIV Risk of Male Migrant Laborers in India Open Access

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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a substantial challenge for India. In 2011, India ranked third globally in the number of people living with HIV. While progress has been made in reducing the occurrence of new cases, there has been concern over the emergence of micro-epidemics in rural areas. Surveillance data suggests these micro-epidemics are linked to migration, where migrants serve as a bridge between the high prevalence cities and their low prevalence hometowns. However, there appears to be a gap in the research literature when examining the rationale for why HIV is spreading beyond migrants and their partners. One reasonable theory is that the social norms in the source village significantly differ from that of the work destination. To explore this idea, a secondary quantitative analysis was conducted on data collected from 4,294 adult male migrant laborers from multiple sites across India. The Theory of Social Normative Behavior (TNSB) was used to disentangle to role of individual and group norms of the source and destination site on an individual's behavior. This study had three major findings. First, the objective prevalence of a behavior (collective norm) had more predictive value than the individual’s perceived estimate (descriptive norm). Second, collective norms are not moderators (contrary to TNSB), instead descriptive norms partially mediate the effect of collective norms on risk involvement. Third, the collective norm at the source village had the largest predictive value for risk involvement at both the source and destination sites.

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