Impact of five years of peer-mediated interventions on sexual behavior and sexually transmitted infections among female sex workers in Mombasa, Kenya

International Centre for Reproductive Health, Mombasa, Kenya.
BMC Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.26). 02/2008; 8(1):143. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-8-143
Source: PubMed


Since 2000, peer-mediated interventions among female sex workers (FSW) in Mombasa Kenya have promoted behavioural change through improving knowledge, attitudes and awareness of HIV serostatus, and aimed to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infection (STI) by facilitating early STI treatment. Impact of these interventions was evaluated among those who attended peer education and at the FSW population level.
A pre-intervention survey in 2000, recruited 503 FSW using snowball sampling. Thereafter, peer educators provided STI/HIV education, condoms, and facilitated HIV testing, treatment and care services. In 2005, data were collected using identical survey methods, allowing comparison with historical controls, and between FSW who had or had not received peer interventions.
Over five years, sex work became predominately a full-time activity, with increased mean sexual partners (2.8 versus 4.9/week; P < 0.001). Consistent condom use with clients increased from 28.8% (145/503) to 70.4% (356/506; P < 0.001) as well as the likelihood of refusing clients who were unwilling to use condoms (OR = 4.9, 95%CI = 3.7-6.6). In 2005, FSW who received peer interventions (28.7%, 145/506), had more consistent condom use with clients compared with unexposed FSW (86.2% versus 64.0%; AOR = 3.6, 95%CI = 2.1-6.1). These differences were larger among FSW with greater peer-intervention exposure. HIV prevalence was 25% (17/69) in FSW attending > or = 4 peer-education sessions, compared with 34% (25/73) in those attending 1-3 sessions (P = 0.21). Overall HIV prevalence was 30.6 (151/493) in 2000 and 33.3% (166/498) in 2005 (P = 0.36).
Peer-mediated interventions were associated with an increase in protected sex. Though peer-mediated interventions remain important, higher coverage is needed and more efficacious interventions to reduce overall vulnerability and risk.

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Available from: Matthew Chersich, May 26, 2014
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    • "FSW collectivisation appears to have no precedent in Africa, and has consequently been difficult to initiate. One African study (Mombasa Kenya) specifically commented on the importance of their drop-in centre in promoting community involvement; this acted as an important training and meeting facility and in turn enabled peer educators to hold monthly community gatherings with the active participation of FSWs [145]. Yet provision of spaces to enable independent community organising elsewhere was rare. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Female sex workers (FSWs) experience high levels of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) morbidity, violence and discrimination. Successful SRH interventions for FSWs in India and elsewhere have long prioritised community mobilisation and structural interventions, yet little is known about similar approaches in African settings. We systematically reviewed community empowerment processes within FSW SRH projects in Africa, and assessed them using a framework developed by Ashodaya, an Indian sex worker organisation. Methods In November 2012 we searched Medline and Web of Science for studies of FSW health services in Africa, and consulted experts and websites of international organisations. Titles and abstracts were screened to identify studies describing relevant services, using a broad definition of empowerment. Data were extracted on service-delivery models and degree of FSW involvement, and analysed with reference to a four-stage framework developed by Ashodaya. This conceptualises community empowerment as progressing from (1) initial engagement with the sex worker community, to (2) community involvement in targeted activities, to (3) ownership, and finally, (4) sustainability of action beyond the community. Results Of 5413 articles screened, 129 were included, describing 42 projects. Targeted services in FSW ‘hotspots’ were generally isolated and limited in coverage and scope, mostly offering only free condoms and STI treatment. Many services were provided as part of research activities and offered via a clinic with associated community outreach. Empowerment processes were usually limited to peer-education (stage 2 of framework). Community mobilisation as an activity in its own right was rarely documented and while most projects successfully engaged communities, few progressed to involvement, community ownership or sustainability. Only a few interventions had evolved to facilitate collective action through formal democratic structures (stage 3). These reported improved sexual negotiating power and community solidarity, and positive behavioural and clinical outcomes. Sustainability of many projects was weakened by disunity within transient communities, variable commitment of programmers, low human resource capacity and general resource limitations. Conclusions Most FSW SRH projects in Africa implemented participatory processes consistent with only the earliest stages of community empowerment, although isolated projects demonstrate proof of concept for successful empowerment interventions in African settings.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Globalization and Health
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    • "In Ghana, Accra, which has an estimated 5000 sex workers [73], a project was able to provide STI treatment to only 296 FSWs who lived in the city [74], while in Yaoundé, Cameroon, which has a similar sized sex worker population, only 303 sex workers were offered female-controlled methods to protect against STIs [75]. Through a peer-mediated intervention in Mombasa, Kenya, 62 peer educators were able to reach about a third of Mombasa’s sex worker population [20]. By contrast, in Cotonou, Benin, close to 100% of FSWs knew of the project’s dedicated sex worker clinic and 81% had previously attended the clinic [16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Several biological, behavioural, and structural risk factors place female sex workers (FSWs) at heightened risk of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and other adverse sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes. FSW projects in many settings have demonstrated effective ways of altering this risk, improving the health and wellbeing of these women. Yet the optimum delivery model of FSW projects in Africa is unclear. This systematic review describes intervention packages, service-delivery models, and extent of government involvement in these services in Africa. Methods On 22 November 2012, we searched Web of Science and MEDLINE, without date restrictions, for studies describing clinical and non-clinical facility-based SRH prevention and care services for FSWs in low- and middle-income countries in Africa. We also identified articles in key non-indexed journals and on websites of international organizations. A single reviewer screened titles and abstracts, and extracted data from articles using standardised tools. Results We located 149 articles, which described 54 projects. Most were localised and small-scale; focused on research activities (rather than on large-scale service delivery); operated with little coordination, either nationally or regionally; and had scanty government support (instead a range of international donors generally funded services). Almost all sites only addressed HIV prevention and STIs. Most services distributed male condoms, but only 10% provided female condoms. HIV services mainly encompassed HIV counselling and testing; few offered HIV care and treatment such as CD4 testing or antiretroviral therapy (ART). While STI services were more comprehensive, periodic presumptive treatment was only provided in 11 instances. Services often ignored broader SRH needs such as family planning, cervical cancer screening, and gender-based violence services. Conclusions Sex work programmes in Africa have limited coverage and a narrow scope of services and are poorly coordinated with broader HIV and SRH services. To improve FSWs’ health and reduce onward HIV transmission, access to ART needs to be addressed urgently. Nevertheless, HIV prevention should remain the mainstay of services. Service delivery models that integrate broader SRH services and address structural risk factors are much needed. Government-led FSW services of high quality and scale would markedly reduce SRH vulnerabilities of FSWs in Africa.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Globalization and Health
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    • "Sex workers were recruited from their homes, guest houses and the street in two divisions of Mombasa, (Kisauni and Chaani), within the Coast province. This setting was selected as the research team had strong links with the community leaders and sex workers in these divisions, as well as the high incidence of alcohol use, unsafe sex and HIV in the area [37]. A household survey among the general population reported that HIV prevalence in Coast Province was 8.1% in 2007 and 4.3% in 2012 [34]. "
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate putative links between alcohol use, and unsafe sex and incident HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa. A cohort of 400 HIV-negative female sex workers was established in Mombasa, Kenya. Associations between categories of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and the incidence at one year of unsafe sex, HIV and pregnancy were assessed using Cox proportional hazards models. Violence or STIs other than HIV measured at one year was compared across AUDIT categories using multivariate logistic regression. Participants had high levels of hazardous (17.3%, 69/399) and harmful drinking (9.5%, 38/399), while 36.1% abstained from alcohol. Hazardous and harmful drinkers had more unprotected sex and higher partner numbers than abstainers. Sex while feeling drunk was frequent and associated with lower condom use. Occurrence of condom accidents rose step-wise with each increase in AUDIT category. Compared with non-drinkers, women with harmful drinking had 4.1-fold higher sexual violence (95%CI adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.9-8.9) and 8.4 higher odds of physical violence (95%CI AOR = 3.9-18.0), while hazardous drinkers had 3.1-fold higher physical violence (95%CI AOR = 1.7-5.6). No association was detected between AUDIT category and pregnancy, or infection with Syphilis or Trichomonas vaginalis. The adjusted hazard ratio of HIV incidence was 9.6 comparing women with hazardous drinking to non-drinkers (95%CI = 1.1-87.9). Unsafe sex, partner violence and HIV incidence were higher in women with alcohol use disorders. This prospective study, using validated alcohol measures, indicates that harmful or hazardous alcohol can influence sexual behaviour. Possible mechanisms include increased unprotected sex, condom accidents and exposure to sexual violence. Experimental evidence is required demonstrating that interventions to reduce alcohol use can avert unsafe sex.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Globalization and Health
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