HIV/AIDS Vulnerability Among Street Children in Urban Bangladesh: A Reality of Old Dhaka

  • Md. Saidur Rashid SumonEmail author
  • Abdullah Abusayed Khan
Part of the Contemporary South Asian Studies book series (CSAS)


A growing pace of urbanisation has created a number of crises in Bangladesh, especially as regards good governance and sustainable development. The governmental structure is highly centralised, limiting local officials’ authority and flexibility to adapt to local circumstances and demand. Moreover, the persistence of traditional customs, perceptions, attitudes and practices towards children within society often hamper collective development. Unbalanced urbanisation, the absence of urban good governance, unjustified political culture, the huge pressure of rural–urban migration in recent times and the related unplanned character of the urban dwelling system all lead to the presence of a growing number of homeless or ‘street’ people within the city. In this context, the present study aims to address the phenomenon of homeless children and their susceptibility to the threats and harms of sexual abuse, substance abuse as well as the related risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. The study also aims to explore specific factors that render children vulnerable and affected by these behaviours. The authors attempt to examine HIV/AIDS vulnerability among street children in Old Dhaka; this is done through a field-level investigation combined with a critical review of theoretical frameworks. Thus, the paper is based on a qualitative approach which includes analysis of secondary sources of data, yet it also deals with primary data through case studies, Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). Network or snowball sampling techniques were adopted to pursue this study. The overall outcomes of this paper reveal that street children have a moderate knowledge on HIV/AIDS; they have become aware of its dangers due to interventions by many government organisations and NGOs. However, due to cultural barriers, they often fail to apply this knowledge and awareness. Consequently, they do engage in high-risk behaviours such as drug abuse, and their sexual safety measures are inconsistent, meaning that vulnerability to HIV/AIDS persists. Integrated and comprehensive intervention programmes coupled with continuous monitoring and sustainable supervision are needed; through this process, both factual knowledge and cultural constructions among the population must be addressed.


Urbanisation Urban governance Street children Vulnerability of HIV/AIDS Drug abuse Sexual abuse Awareness Cultural barriers Dhaka Bangladesh 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Md. Saidur Rashid Sumon
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Abdullah Abusayed Khan
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SociologyJagannath UniversityDhakaBangladesh
  2. 2.MA in Criminology, University of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Sociology DisciplineKhulna UniversityKhulnaBangladesh

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