Social Support and HIV Risks Among Migrant and Non-Migrant Market Workers in Almaty, Kazakhstan


Social support, Migrant, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Sexual risk behavior, Loneliness


Migration processes are listed within the primary factors facilitating the heterosexual spread of HIV. The study examines the relationship between social support, sexual HIV risk behaviors and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among 1342 male migrant and non-migrant market workers from Barakholka Market in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Results: (1) higher level of perceived social support [Enhancing Recovery in Coronary Heart Disease (ENRICHD) Social Support Instrument (ESSI score)] was associated with a lower likelihood of having sex with a female sex worker (FSW) [OR = 0.952 (0.927, 0.978) p < .001]; (2) higher availability of friends was associated with a higher likelihood of having STIs [OR = 1.244 (1.007, 1.537), p < .05]; (3) larger network size was associated with a higher likelihood of having STIs [OR = 1.201 (1.026, 1.407), p < .05]; (4) loneliness was associated with an increased likelihood of having unprotected sex with any female partner [RR = 1.102 (1.027, 1.182), p < .05]. Results suggest that social support factors should be considered as a component of HIV and STI prevention programs for male migrant workers from Central Asia in Kazakhstan.

Original Publication Citation

Mergenova, G., Shaw, S.A., Terlikbayeva, A., Gilbert, L., Gensburg, L., Primbetova, S., El-Bassel, N. (2017). Social support and HIV risks among migrant and non-migrant market workers in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 19(4), 809-817.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Social Work

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor