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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


OCHOA-MARIN, Sandra C; CRISTANCHO-MARULANDA, Sergio  and  GONZALEZ-LOPEZ, José Rafael. Migrants' female partners: social image and the search for sexual and reproductive health services. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2011, vol.13, n.2, pp.183-195. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objective Analysing the self-image and social image of migrants' female partners (MFP) and their relationship with the search for sexual and reproductive health services (SRHS) in communities having a high US migratory intensity index. Methods 60 MFP were subjected to in-depth interviews between October 2004 and May 2005 and 19 semi-structured interviews were held with members of their families, 14 representatives from social organisations, 10 health service representatives and 31 men and women residing in the community. Results MFP self-image and social image regards women as being "vulnerable", "alone", "lacking sexual partner" and thus being sexually inactive. Consequently, "they must not contract sexually-transmitted diseases (STD), use contraceptives or become pregnant" when their partners are in the USA. The search for SRHS services was found to be related to self-image, social image and the notion of family or social control predominated in the behaviour expected for these women which, in turn, was related to conditions regarding their coexistence (or not) with their families. Conclusions MFP living with their family or their partner's family were subject to greater "family" control in their search for SRHS services. On the contrary, MFP living alone were subjected to greater "social" control over such process. Sexuallyinactive women's self-image and social image seems to have a bearing on such women's social behaviour and could become an obstacle to the timely search for SRHS services in communities having high migratory intensity.

Keywords : International migration; gender identity; reproductive health service.

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