Migrant populations are one of the vulnerable groups to HIV transmission and its consequences. They are also reported to experience delayed entry or linkage into HIV services and have poorer HIV-related health outcomes. This study aimed to understand barriers to accessing HIV care services in host countries among Indonesian, male, former (returned) migrant workers living with HIV. The study was carried out from December 2020 to February 2021. It utilised a qualitative design employing in-depth interviews to collect data from twenty-two returned migrant workers from Eastern Indonesia, recruited using the snowball sampling technique. A qualitative data analysis framework was used to guide a step-by-step analysis of the findings. Findings demonstrated that limited host-country language proficiency, lack of knowledge regarding healthcare systems in host countries and having ‘undocumented’ worker status were barriers to accessing HIV care services. Data also revealed the unavailability of HIV care services nearby migrants’ work locations, long-distance travel to healthcare facilities, and challenges in accessing public transportation as barriers that impeded their access to the services. Other factors limiting the participants’ access to HIV services were identified as the transient and mobile nature of migrant work requiring frequent relocation and disrupting work–life stability. Additionally, in lieu of formal HIV services, many participants self-medicated by using over-the-counter herbal or ‘traditional’ medicines, often because of peer or social group influence regarding the selection of informal treatment options. Recommendations arising from this study demonstrate the need to improve pre-departure information for migrant workers regarding the healthcare system and access procedures in potential host countries. Data from this study also indicate that social services should be available to assist potential migrants to access legal channels for migrant work overseas, to ensure that Indonesian migrants can safely access healthcare services in the countries for which they are providing migrant labour. Future studies to understand barriers to accessing HIV care services among various migrant groups living with HIV are warranted to build evidence for potential social policy change.
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2022|
- barriers to care
- HIV care services
- host countries
- migrant workers living with HIV