Migration plays a significant role in the spread of HIV/AIDS , . Migration and mobility can increase vulnerability to HIV infection , , ,  for mobile people , , ,  and their partners residing at their hometown , . The relationship between population migration and the spread of HIV in selected countries outside Asia is well documented , , . For example, a study in Uganda found that individuals who had migrated in three years prior to survey were three times more likely to be infected with HIV than those who had not migrated during the past ten years prior to the survey .
Although migrant men are believed to acquire HIV infection in destination areas and transmit the virus to their sexual partners upon returning to their hometowns , , no epidemiological study has examined the relationship between spousal out-migration and the HIV serostatus of married women in rural India.
In India, barring a few micro-level studies conducted in urban destinations that have shown no differences in the sexual behaviors between migrants and non-migrants, ,  most studies have documented a positive and significant correlation between migration and increased sexual risk behaviors , , , , ,  and HIV . A study of migrant and non-migrant youth in a district in rural Jharkhand, India indicates that migrants tend to have sexual relations with sex workers and casual female partners at their hometowns . The likelihood of migrants engaging in sexual relations in their hometowns before their first migration and during regular home visits is higher than that of non-migrants , . Although studies indicate high sexual risk behaviors in migrants' hometowns in India , there are no specific interventions aimed at migrants or their sexual partners in these settings due to lack of appropriate epidemiological data on the role of out-migration in the transmission of HIV to sexual partners in these areas. Further, recent evidence from India suggests that 85% of newly diagnosed HIV infections are among currently married persons . Therefore, the current study is designed to examine this issue by comparing HIV seropositive and seronegative individuals by male out-migration status using a case-control study design. This study aimed to investigate whether a higher proportion of migrant married men—returned or active migrants—are HIV infected than non-migrants married men, and whether a higher proportion of married women—with returned or active migrant husbands—are identified with HIV infection than women with non-migrant husbands.
Thus far, the reasons for increasing HIV prevalence in northern and eastern Indian states are unknown. We investigated the role of male out-migration in the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection through a case-control study in rural India.
Currently married men and women were recruited from HIV testing and treatment centers across seven selected districts with high rates of male out-migration in eastern and northern India in 2010 using a case-control study design. Case subjects (men: 595, women: 609) were people who tested HIV seropositive and control subjects (men: 611, women: 600) were those tested HIV seronegative. For each gender, we obtained adjusted odds ratios (AORs) and population attributable risks (PARs) for migration, and behavioral factors.
For men, the prevalence of HIV was significantly higher among those with a migration history (AOR, 4·4); for women, the prevalence of HIV was higher among those with migrant husbands (AOR, 2·3). For both genders, the returned male migration (men: AOR, 3·7; women: AOR, 2·8) was significantly associated with higher prevalence of HIV infection. The PAR associated with male migration was higher for men (54·5%–68·6%) than for women (32·7%–56·9%) across the study areas.
Male out-migration is the most important risk factor influencing the spread of HIV infection in rural areas with high out-migration rates, thereby emphasizing the need for interventions, particularly, for returned migrants and spouses of those migrants.