252776 Influence of religiosity on sexual risk behavior among migrant workers

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Muni Balakrishnan Rubens, MBBS, MPH , Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Virginia H. McCoy, PhD , Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Nancy Shehadeh, MPH, CHES , Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Background: In the U.S., ethnic minorities are a population at increasing risk of HIV infection. Many studies have shown positive association between spirituality and both number of sex partners and frequency of sex without condom (Burris et. al., 2009; Villarruel et. al., 2007). The aim of this study was to examine the association between religiosity and HIV preventive behaviors among Migrant Workers (MWs).

Method: Using baseline data from an HIV/AIDS intervention study among MWs (N=431) from Immokalee, Florida, the association between sexual risk behavior and religiosity was analyzed. To evaluate religiosity, participants were asked the questions: “Do you consider yourself to be religious?” on a Likert scale from 1 (Very religious) to 4 (Not religious). Sexual risk behavior was assessed using the Vaginal Episode Equivalent (VEE), which weights various sexual acts based on a differential risk as the outcome variable. Simple linear regression analysis was conducted with both demographic variables and religiosity as independent variables.

Results: Only 14.0% (n=60) of the participants were “not religious”. Thirty one percent (n=132) of subjects said they were “a little religious” while 38% (n=164) were “somewhat religious” and 17% (n=73) were “very religious”. Regression analysis showed that religiosity (Beta=-2.998, p=0.032), and gender (Beta=4.062, p=0.000) significantly predicted VEE score.

Conclusion: The finding of the study indicates an inverse relationship between sexual risk behavior and the level of religiosity. From a disease prevention standpoint, the significance of this study is that, encouraging people to participate in religious activity might help them refrain from risky sexual behavior.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
To analyze characteristics and particular challenges migrant workers are facing with respect to HIV/AIDS. To assess the association between sexual risk behaviors and religiosity among migrant workers.

Keywords: Sexual Risk Behavior, Religion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I’m a graduate student in public health from Florida International University, Miami and I’ve been working with my professor Dr. Virginia McCoy in her HIV/AIDS intervention research for more than three years. The research is an intervention program assessing the effectiveness of an Enhanced/Adapted Cognitive Behavioral program in comparison to a Health Promotion Comparison program among migrant farm workers in rural Florida. I’m actively associated with this program, especially in quality control, data entry, and data analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.