Rapid situation assessment on HIV and internal displacement in urban areas in Colombia
D. Peñarete1, M.L. Rubio2, M.Y. Pinilla3
1UNHCR, Bogota, Colombia, 2UNFPA, Bogota, Colombia, 3Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia
Background: In Colombia there are between 3-4.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to armed conflict. IDPs are considered vulnerable to HIV infection. This study explores the relation between displacement and HIV in urban areas in Colombia.
Methods: The study was undertaken in four cities (Bogota, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga and Cucuta) by conducting rapid situation assessments. Key informant interviews of actors providing HIV interventions for IDPs and IDPs living with HIV were undertaken using semi-structured interviews. Five focus group discussions with IDPs differentiated by age and gender in each city were done. Analysis was guided by the meaning of displacement, social networks, sexuality, and health and HIV.
Results: Forced displacement appears to be a major influence on how IDPs view life before and after displacement. Their social and family networks change considerably post-displacement as gender roles are substantially modified; women often become the main family provider and identifies of men suffer accordingly. Some stated that living with HIV was a major reason for their displacement. Sexual behavior post displacement changes as some women became sex workers or knew someone who was. Subjects stated they have reduced access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and services.
Conclusions: Forced displacement drastically changes people's lives and appears to cause an increase in HIV vulnerability. Such negative changes include reductions in incomes and consequently sexual behaviour, as well as changes in their social networks and relations with institutions. Displacement negatively changed the way affected persons perceive themselves and are perceived by society. These factors highlight the need for national HIV policies and programmes to include forcibly displaced persons as priority groups in provision of and access to SRH services including information, VCT, PMTCT, ART, condoms, and special programs for youth and woman.
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