Vulnerability of Bangladeshi street-children to HIV/AIDS: A qualitative study

Md Jasim Uddin*, Haribondhu Sarma, Tasnuva Wahed, Md Wazed Ali, Tracey Perez Koehlmoos, Quamrun Nahar, Tasnim Azim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Children living on the streets are an underprivileged population of Bangladesh and are likely to be more vulnerable to STIs/HIV for their day-to-day risky behaviours and lifestyles. This study assessed the vulnerability of Bangladeshi street-children to HIV/AIDS using qualitative participatory methods. Methods: This ethnographic participatory, qualitative study was conducted during February 2010-December 2011 among children aged 5-12 years, who live and/or work on the streets in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. Data were collected in three phases: (a) social mapping (n = 493), (b) participatory group discussions (n = 119), and (c) individual interviews (n = 36). Results: Results showed that street-children were engaged in behaviour that entails risk of exposure to HIV/AIDS. They possessed poor knowledge of the transmission of disease and of the benefits of using condoms; most of them reported never using a condom. The experience of selling sex for money and a variety of sexual activities, like anal, vaginal and oral sex, were commonly reported. The children also reported that they were regular users of one or more types of drugs, including those taken by injection. Conclusions: The deplorable living conditions of street children, with no obvious rights or way out, make them highly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Urgent attention of the policy-makers to implement services addressing issues relating to social conditions, sexual health, and drug-use is warranted to prevent the possible epidemic of HIV/AIDS among this group of population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1151
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 6 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Abuse
  • Bangladesh
  • Risky behaviours
  • Street-children
  • Vulnerability

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