Late HIV diagnosis among migrant women living in Europe - a systematic review of barriers to HIV testing

Melvina Woode Owusu, Dagny Clea Krankowska, Panagiota Lourida, Nina Weis


OBJECTIVES: HIV transmission persists in Europe, with migrants accounting for over two-fifths of new diagnoses. Over half of all women in Europe are diagnosed late - particularly migrant women. Therefore, an updated understanding of migrant women's needs is crucial to inform inclusive and relevant HIV research, services, and policies.

METHODS: A systematic review relating to factors influencing late HIV diagnoses among migrant women living in Europe in 2011-2021 was conducted, based on data from 12 papers relating to 13 European Union (EU) countries and three non-EU countries.

RESULTS: The studies revealed a range of individual, sociocultural, and structural barriers to HIV diagnosis. Individual barriers included low perceived risk of HIV, lack of knowledge about HIV symptoms and HIV services, lack of trust in healthcare systems, and fear of societal implications of an HIV diagnosis. Sociocultural barriers included language and communication challenges, stigma, and lack of community testing opportunities. Structural factors included poverty, poor living conditions, unclear legal rights, administrative barriers to healthcare access, and lack of testing opportunities.

CONCLUSIONS: Barriers varied according to resident country, healthcare system, and country/region of origin. The studies highlighted the importance of inclusive research and service design and development, to address the needs of migrant women and reduce inequalities, especially given the current climate in Europe and the everchanging patterns of migration.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIJID Regions (Online)
Pages (from-to)206-215
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


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