Predictors of migration in an HIV hyper-endemic rural South African community: evidence from a population-based cohort (2005–2017)

Globally, South Africa hosts the highest number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and the unique legacy of inter‑ nal labour migration continues to be a major driver of the regional epidemic, interrupting treatment-as-prevention eforts. The study examined levels, trends, and predictors of migration in rural KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa, using population-based surveillance data from 2005 through 2017. We followed 69 604 adult participants aged 15–49 years and recorded their migration events (i.e., out-migration from the surveillance area) in 423 038 personyears over 525 397 observations. Multiple failure Cox-regression models were used to measure the risk of migration by socio-demographic factors: age, sex, educational status, marital status, HIV, and community antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage. Overall, 69% of the population cohort experienced at least one migration event during the follow-up period. The average incidence rate of migration was 9.96 events and 13.23 events per 100 person-years in women and men, respectively. Migration rates declined from 2005 to 2008 then peaked in 2012 for both women and men. Adjusting for other covariates, the risk of migration was 3.4-times higher among young women aged 20–24 years compared to those aged≥40 years (adjusted Hazard Ratio [aHR]=3.37, 95% Confdence Interval [CI]: 3:19–3.57), and 2.9-times higher among young men aged 20–24 years compared to those aged≥40 years (aHR=2.86, 95% CI:2.69– 3.04). There was a 9% and 27% decrease in risk of migration among both women (aHR=0.91, 95% CI: 0.83 – 0.99) and men (aHR=0.73, 95% CI 0.66 – 0.82) respectively per every 1% increase in community ART coverage. Young unmar‑ ried women including those living with HIV, migrated at a magnitude similar to that of their male counterparts, and lowered as ART coverage increased over time, refecting the role of improved HIV services across space in reducing out-migration. A deeper understanding of the characteristics of a migrating population provides critical information towards identifying and addressing gaps in the HIV prevention and care continuum in an era of high mobility
Migration, Migration incidence, Transients and Migrants, Antiretroviral Therapy, Human Immunodefciency Virus