The association between adolescent entry into the trucking industry and risk of HIV among long-distance truck drivers in India
Ram Manohar Mishra,1 Madhulika Dube,2 Niranjan Saggurti,1 Arvind Pandey,3 Bidhubhusan Mahapatra,1 Sowmya Ramesh1
1Population Council, New Delhi, 2Department of Statistics, Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, Haryana, 3National Institute of Medical Statistics, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India
Abstract: This study examines the relationship between entry into the trucking industry during adolescence and both sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and infection by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among long-distance truck drivers in India. Data were sourced from a cross-sectional survey (sample size: 2066) undertaken in 2007 among long-distance truck drivers. The survey spread across major transshipment locations covering the bulk of India's transport volume along four routes. Participants were interviewed about sexual behaviors and were tested for HIV and STIs. The present authors constructed two synthetic cohorts based on the participants' duration of employment in the trucking industry: (1) low (duration ≤ 6 years) and (2) high experience (duration ≥ 7 years). Based on age at entry into the trucking industry, participants were termed as either adolescent (age at entry < 18 complete years) or adult entrants (age at entry ≥ 18 complete years). In the low-experience cohort, the adolescent entrants were more likely than the adult entrants to have sex with paid female partners (42.6% versus 27.2%, respectively; adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 1.9; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.3–2.9) and to practice inconsistent condom use with such partners (69.1% versus 26.8%, respectively; adjusted OR: 5.3; 95% CI: 2.4–11.6). However, no significant differences were found in STI and HIV prevalence between the adolescent and the adult entrants in this cohort. In the high-experience cohort, the adolescent entrants were about two times more likely than the adult entrants to practice inconsistent condom use with paid female partners (38.5% versus 26.7%, respectively; adjusted OR: 1.7; 95% CI: 1.1–2.8) and to test positive for HIV (7.4% versus 4.0%, respectively; adjusted OR: 1.9; 95% CI: 1.2–3.1) and syphilis (5.7% versus 3.5%, respectively; adjusted OR: 1.8; 95% CI: 1.1–3.1). These results suggest the need for focused behavioral change programs in HIV prevention interventions for adolescent truckers in India and elsewhere.
Keywords: sexually transmitted infections, condom use, risky sexual behavior, truckers
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