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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 136  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 44-53

Heterosexual risk behaviour among long distance truck drivers in India: Role of marital status


1 National Institute of Medical Statistics (ICMR), New Delhi, India
2 Population Council, New Delhi, India
3 National AIDS Research Institute, Pune, India
4 Family Health International, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Arvind Pandey
Director, National Institute of Medical Statistics (ICMR), Ansari Nagar, New Delhi 110 029
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Background & objectives: The long distance truck drivers play an important role in the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The present study was carried out to examine association of marital status with heterosexual risk behaviour, condom use and prevalence of STI and HIV among long-distance male truck drivers in India. Methods: Using the time location cluster sampling approach, major transshipment locations covering the bulk of India's transport volume were surveyed in 2007. A total of 2,066 long-distance male truck drivers were surveyed and, after consent, interviewed about their socio-demographic characteristics, sexual behaviours, condom use practices, and tested for HIV, reactive syphilis serology, Neiserria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis. The key variable of this study marital status was divided in two categories: married and unmarried. Data were analyzed using multiple logistic regression methods with following four binary outcome variables (i) whether had sex with any non-regular partners in past 12 months; (ii) whether used condom consistently in past 12 months; (iii) whether tested positive for any STI; and (iv) whether tested positive for HIV. Results: Compared to married truck drivers, unmarried were significantly more likely to have sex with non-regular female partners (30.2 versus 66.9%, OR: 5.7, 95% CI 3.6-8.9), less likely to use condom consistently with non-regular female partners (50.1 versus 38.8%, OR: 0.7, 95% CI: 0.4-1.1) and more likely to have HIV (3.7 versus 3.4%, OR: 2.7, 95% CI: 1.1-6.5). Interpretation & conclusions: Unmarried truck drivers have a higher HIV risk behaviour and consequently they were more likely to have HIV than married drivers. Despite of high-risk behaviours, risk-perception remains low among both married and unmarried truck drivers. This belief coupled with inconsistent condom use put currently married long distance truck drivers as well as their wives at risk of getting infected from STI and HIV.


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