The Reproductive Health Consequences of Rural-Urban Migration among Adolescents in Nigeria

Igwe Aja-Nwachuku, Abia State University

This paper examines the reproductive health consequences for Nigerian adolescents who have migrated to the city. The paper documents high rates of STDs and abortion, suggesting risk of HIV/AIDS. Sexuality has become an important arena in which young migrants negotiate the urban cultural landscape. Findings indicate that rural-urban migration may pose particular hazards for adolescent reproductive health, as young people struggle with issues of individual identity and economic survival. But urban settings also provide possible health benefits to adolescents and these are examined. Data include a random sample survey of over 400 young migrants in a southeastern Nigerian city, in-depth life history interviews with a smaller sub-sample, and extensive participant observation. Analysis combines statistical and ethnographic approaches, and the paper concludes by trying to explain the incongruity between young migrants' high levels of knowledge about HIV/AIDS and contraception and the low levels of consistent condom use.

Presented in Session 2: Migration and HIV