Transient Populations: Linking HIV, Migrant Workers, and South African Male Inmates


Risk factors associated with the spread of HIV are common among South Africa’s transient populations—migrant workers and prisoners. Social ills in South Africa have yielded a growing transient population. Importantly, the migrant workers and prisoners in this population are likely to subscribe to masculine beliefs. Migrants have proven to be an effective bridge in the spread of HIV from high-risk to low-risk populations. Although a relationship between the populations has yet to be established, the circumstances of migrant camps are similar to those of prison camps. Given the high levels of HIV in South Africa and the parallels between migrants (a population whose great HIV threat to the general community has already been established) and prisoners, the integration of former male inmates into the community may pose serious public health concerns.