This study provides an assessment of HIV vulnerabilities and access to HIV health-care services among key affected populations that live or work along the economic corridor between Myawaddy and Kawkareik. The research targets migrants, female sex workers, men who have sex with men and people who use drugs. The assessment applied a mixed methods approach, acquiring mapping, quantitative data and qualitative data.
Results show that there are misperceptions about HIV. Mobile men with money were found to have the greatest lack of knowledge and most fear compared with other key affected populations. Negative attitudes towards HIV were found in the quantitative and qualitative research despite the respondents’ general willingness to look after their relatives with HIV. About half of all survey respondents experienced at least occasional difficulties in accessing health services. Cost, waiting time, and health personnel competency and attitudes were major reasons for dissatisfaction. Only 17 per cent of migrants had ever been tested for HIV; of these less than one third had pre-/post-test counselling and only 70 per cent received their test results.
Key recommendations include: 1) establishing a full package of HIV services in all areas; 2) improving health-care quality, not just quantity and accessibility; 3) prioritizing increasing knowledge and reducing stigma; 4) developing tailored approaches to promote meaningful access and engagement among specific migrant groups; 5) strengthening cross-border and in-country referral mechanisms; 6) strengthening coordination between government and non-government (including private) providers; and 7) engaging in policy development to promote migrant-sensitive health systems and services.