Migrant sexual health help-seeking and experiences of stigmatization and discrimination in Perth, Western Australia: exploring barriers and enablers
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Increasing HIV notifications amongst migrant and mobile populations to Australia is a significant public health issue. Generalizations about migrant health needs and delayed or deterred help-seeking behaviors can result from disregarding the variation between and within cultures including factors, such as drivers for migration and country of birth. This study explored barriers and enablers to accessing sexual health services, including experiences of stigma and discrimination, within a purposive sample of sub-Saharan African, Southeast Asian, and East Asian migrants. A qualitative design was employed using key informant interviews and focus group discussions. A total of 45 people with ages ranging from 18 to 50 years, participated in focus group discussions. Common barriers and enablers to help seeking behaviors were sociocultural and religious influence, financial constraints, and knowledge dissemination to reduce stigma. Additionally, common experiences of stigma and discrimination were related to employment and the social and self-isolation of people living with HIV. Overcoming barriers to accessing sexual health services, imparting sexual health knowledge, recognizing variations within cultures, and a reduction in stigma and discrimination will simultaneously accelerate help-seeking and result in better sexual health outcomes in migrant populations.
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