[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: An estimated 50% of people living with HIV (PLHIV) globally are unaware of their status. Among those who know their HIV status, many do not receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) in a timely manner, fail to remain engaged in care, or do not achieve sustained viral suppression. Barriers across the HIV care continuum prevent PLHIV from achieving the therapeutic and preventive effects of ART. Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted, and 6132 articles, including randomized controlled trials, observational studies with or without comparators, cross-sectional studies, and descriptive documents, met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 1047 articles were used to generate 36 recommendations to optimize the HIV care continuum for adults and adolescents. Recommendations: Recommendations are provided for interventions to optimize the HIV care environment; increase HIV testing and linkage to care, treatment coverage, retention in care, and viral suppression; and monitor the HIV care continuum.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) eradication leads to reduced morbidity, mortality and transmission. Despite the disproportionate burden of HCV among sex workers, data regarding the HCV care continuum in this population remain negligible.
Using baseline data from an ongoing cohort of women sex workers in Vancouver (An Evaluation of Sex Workers' Health Access, January 2010 to August 2013), the authors assessed HCV prevalence and engagement in the HCV care continuum within the past year. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate associations with recent (ie, in the past year) HCV testing.
Among 705 sex workers, 302 (42.8%) were HCV seropositive. Of these, 22.5% were previously unaware of their HCV status, 41.7% had accessed HCV-related care, 13.9% were offered treatment and only 1.0% received treatment. Among 552 HCV-seronegative sex workers, only one-half (52.9%) reported a recent HCV test. In multivariable analysis, women who self-identified as a sexual⁄gender minority (adjusted OR [aOR] 1.89 [95% CI 1.11 to 3.24]), resided in the inner city drug use epicentre (aOR 3.19 [95%CI 1.78 to 5.73]) and used injection (aOR 2.00 [95% CI 1.19 to 3.34]) or noninjection drugs (aOR 1.95 [95% CI 1.00 to 3.78]) had increased odds of undergoing a recent HCV test, while immigrant participants (aOR 0.24 [95% CI 0.12 to 0.48]) had decreased odds.
Despite a high burden of HCV among sex workers, large gaps in the HCV care continuum remain. Particularly concerning are the low access to HCV testing, with one-fifth of women living with HCV being previously unaware of their status, and the exceptionally low prevalence of HCV treatment. There is a critical need for further research to better understand and address barriers to engage in the HCV continuum for sex workers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Despite high HIV burden among sex workers (SWs) globally, and relatively high prevalence of client condom use, research on potential HIV/STI risk pathways of intimate partnerships is limited. This study investigated partner/dyad-level factors associated with inconsistent condom use among SWs with intimate partners in Vancouver, Canada.
Baseline data (2010-2013) were drawn from a community-based prospective cohort of women SWs. Multivariable generalized estimating equations logistic regression examined dyad-level factors associated with inconsistent condom use (<100% in last six months) with up to three male intimate partners per SW. Adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were reported (AOR[95%CI]).
Overall, 369 SWs reported having at least one intimate partner, with 70.1% reporting inconsistent condom use. Median length of partnerships was 1.8 years, with longer duration linked to inconsistent condom use. In multivariable analysis, dyad factors significantly associated with increased odds of inconsistent condom use included: having a cohabiting (5.43[2.53-11.66]) or non-cohabiting intimate partner (2.15[1.11-4.19]) (versus casual partner), providing drugs (3.04[1.47-6.30]) or financial support to an intimate partner (2.46[1.05-5.74]), physical intimate partner violence (2.20[1.17-4.12]), and an intimate partner providing physical safety (2.08[1.11-3.91]); non-injection drug use was associated with a 68% reduced odds (0.32[0.17-0.60]).
Our study highlights the complex role of dyad-level factors in shaping sexual and drug-related HIV/STI risk pathways for SWs from intimate partners. Couple and gender-focused interventions efforts are needed to reduce HIV/STI risks to SWs through intimate partnerships. This research supports further calls for integrated violence and HIV prevention within broader sexual/reproductive health efforts for SWs.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Drug and alcohol dependence
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study aimed to: (1) examine the relationship between interpersonal as well as social-demographic, cultural and structural factors, and condom non-use by sex workers' main intimate or other non-paying male sex partners (NPPs), as reported by a sample of sex workers; and (2) understand HIV/sexually transmitted infections (STIs) risk (e.g., numbers of sexual partners; condom use with different partners) among couples comprised of a sub-set of sex workers and their NPPs. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with condom non-use at last sex by the main NPP, as reported by sex workers. Adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals are reported (AOR[95%CIs]). Data were drawn from cross-sectional surveys in Bagalkot District, Karnataka State, South India. Responses by sex workers whose main NPPs agreed to enrol in the study and the main NPP enroled were linked; these responses by couples (pairs of sex workers and NPPs) were examined for responses to sexual risk for HIV/STIs. Overall, this study included 257 sex workers and 76 NPPs. The data from 67 couples (88.2%) could be linked. In over a quarter of partnerships, at least one (SW or NPP) partner reported having another type of partner besides each other (and clients of SWs). In multivariable analysis, significantly increased odds of condom non-use at last sex with the main NPP were found for the following key factors: planning to have a child with their main NPP (AOR = 3.71[1.44-9.58]); and having decisions about condom use made by their main NPP (AOR = 9.87[4.03-24.16]) or both equally (AOR = 3.18[1.39-7.80]) (instead of by the sex workers herself). Our study highlights the potential risk for HIV/STI acquisition and transmission between NPPs and sex workers, and between NPPs and their non-sex workers wives and other sex partners. Study results underscore the need for HIV/STI prevention approaches that incorporate informed decision-making about childbearing and parenting, and empowerment strategies for sex workers within the context of NPPs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In light of the emphasis on enforcement-based approaches towards sex work, and the well-known negative impacts of these approaches on women's health, safety and well-being, we conducted a study to investigate the prevalence and correlates of recent incarceration among a cohort of women sex workers in Vancouver, Canada. Data were obtained from an open prospective community cohort of female and transgender women sex workers, known as An Evaluation of Sex Workers' Health Access (AESHA). Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses, using generalized estimating equations (GEE), were used to model the effect of social and structural factors on the likelihood of incarceration over the 44-month follow-up period (January 2010-August 2013). Among 720 sex workers, 62.5 % (n = 450) reported being incarcerated in their lifetime and 23.9 % (n = 172) being incarcerated at least once during the study period. Of the 172 participants, about one third (36.6 %) reported multiple episodes of incarceration. In multivariable GEE analyses, younger age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.04 per year younger, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.02-1.06), being of a sexual/gender minority (AOR = 1.62, 95 % CI 1.13-2.34), heavy drinking (AOR = 1.99, 95 % CI 1.20-3.29), being born in Canada (AOR = 3.28, 95 % CI 1.26-8.53), living in unstable housing conditions (AOR = 4.32, 95 % CI 2.17-8.62), servicing clients in public spaces (versus formal sex work establishments) (AOR = 2.33, 95 % CI 1.05-5.17) and experiencing police harassment without arrest (AOR = 1.82, 95 % CI 1.35-2.45) remain independently correlated with incarceration. This prospective study found a very high prevalence and frequency of incarceration among women sex workers in Vancouver, Canada, with the most vulnerable and marginalized women at increased risk of incarceration. Given the well-known social and health harms associated with incarceration, and associations between police harassment and incarceration in this study, our findings further add to growing calls to move away from criminalized and enforcement-based approaches to sex work in Canada and globally.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Urban Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Avahan intervention promotes consistent (100%) condom use amongst men who have sex with men in southern India. We assessed how condom use varies with intervention exposure for men who have sex with men in Bangalore.
Self-reported condom use and intervention exposure data were derived from a cross-sectional survey. Consistent condom use and condom use at last sex act with all, main, and casual male sex partners were assessed. Binary and continuous variables reflecting intervention exposure (including contact(s) with intervention staff, receiving condoms and seeing condom demonstrations) were used. Multivariable logistic regression was employed to assess the relationship between condom use with each type of partner and each exposure variable independently, controlling for socio-demographic and behavioural factors associated with condom use or intervention exposure.
Condom use with all partners was higher among those who had ever been contacted by, received condoms from, or seen a condom demonstration by intervention staff (adjusted odds ratio >2, p < 0.02 for all). Consistent condom use with all types of partner increased with the number of condom demonstrations seen in the last month (adjusted odds ratio = 2.1 per demonstration, p < 0.025), while condom use at last sex act with a casual (but not main) partner increased with the number of condoms received from the intervention (adjusted odds ratio = 1.4 per condom, p = 0.04).
Direct contact with Avahan program staff is associated with increased reported condom use among men who have sex with men in Bangalore. Reported consistent condom use and condom use at last sex act are associated with contacts involving demonstrations of correct condom use, and with receiving condoms, respectively.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · BMC Public Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite evidence globally of the heavy HIV burden among sex workers (SWs) as well as other poor health outcomes, including violence, SWs are often excluded from accessing voluntary, confidential and non-coercive health services, including HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. This study therefore assessed the prevalence and association with regular HIV testing among street- and off-street SWs in Vancouver, Canada. Cross-sectional baseline data were used from a longitudinal cohort known as "An Evaluation of Sex Worker's Health Access" (AESHA; January 2010-July 2012). This cohort included youth and adult SWs (aged 14+ years). We used multivariable logistic regression to assess the relationship between explanatory variables and having a recent HIV test (in the last year). Of the 435 seronegative SWs included, 67.1% reported having a recent HIV test. In multivariable logistic regression analysis, having a recent HIV test remained significantly independently associated with elevated odds of inconsistent condom use with clients [adjusted (multivariable) odds ratios, AOR: 2.59, 95% confidence intervals [95% CIs]: 1.17-5.78], injecting drugs (AOR: 2.33, 95% CIs: 1.17-4.18) and contact with a mobile HIV prevention programme (AOR: 1.76, 95% CIs: 1.09-2.84) within the last six months. Reduced odds of having a recent HIV test was also significantly associated with being a migrant/new immigrant to Canada (AOR: 0.33, 95% CIs: 0.19-0.56) and having a language barrier to health care access (AOR: 0.26, 95% CIs: 0.09-0.73). Our results highlight successes of reaching SWs at high risk of HIV through drug and sexual pathways. To maximize the effectiveness of including HIV testing as part of comprehensive HIV prevention and care to SWs, increased mobile outreach and safer-environment interventions that facilitate access to voluntary, confidential and non-coercive HIV testing remain a critical priority, in addition to culturally safe services with language support.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is little information on the private lives of women engaged in sex work, particularly how power dynamics within intimate relationships may affect intimate partner violence (IPV). Using baseline data of sex workers enrolled in a longitudinal cohort, "An Evaluation of Sex Workers' Health Access" (AESHA), the present study examined the association between sexual relationship power and IPV among sex workers in non-commercial partnerships in Vancouver, Canada. Pulweritz's Sexual Relationship Power Scale (SRPS) and The World Health Organization (WHO) Intimate Partner Violence against Women Scale (Version9.9) were used. Bivariable and multivariable logistic regression techniques were used to investigate the potential confounding effect of sexual relationship power on IPV among sex workers. Adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were reported. Of 510 sex workers, 257 (50.4%) reported having an non-commercial intimate partner and were included in this analysis. In the past 6 months, 84 (32.7%) sex workers reported IPV (physical, sexual or emotional). The median age was 32 years, 39.3% were of Aboriginal ancestry, and 27.6% were migrants. After controlling for known confounders (e.g., age, Aboriginal ancestry, migrant status, childhood trauma, non-injection drug use), low relationship power was independently associated with 4.19 increased odds (95% CI: 1.93-9.10) and medium relationship power was associated 1.95 increased odds (95% CI: 0.89-4.25) of IPV. This analysis highlights how reduced control over sexual-decision making is plays a critical role in IPV among sex workers, and calls for innovation and inclusive programming tailored to sex workers and their non-commercial intimate partnerships.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Global literature on female sex workers suggests that being in an intimate relationship is associated with barriers to practising safe sex behaviours. Condom use within intimate relationships is often seen as a sign of infidelity and fosters mistrust which could affect longevity, trust and intimacy within partnerships. Using qualitative data from Devadasi sex workers and their intimate male partners in Bagalkot District, Karnataka, India, we examined both partners' perspectives to understand the quality and dynamics of these relationships and the factors that influence condom use in intimate relationships. Our thematic analysis of individual interviews conducted in May 2011 with 20 couples suggests that many Devadasi sex workers and their intimate partners define their relationships as 'like marriage' which reduced their motivation to use condoms. Evidence from this study suggests that active participation in sex workers' collectives (sanghas) can increase condom use, education and family planning services, among other things, and could be helpful for both Devadasis and their intimate partners to better understand and accept safer sexual practices. Our work has direct implications for designing couple-based health interventions for traditional Devadasi sex workers and their intimate partners in India.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Global Public Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is associated with increased risk of HIV among women globally. There is limited evidence and understanding about IPV and potential HIV risk pathways among sex workers (SWs). This study aims to longitudinally evaluate prevalence and correlates of IPV among street and off-street SWs over two-years follow-up.
Longitudinal data were drawn from an open prospective cohort, AESHA (An Evaluation of Sex Workers Health Access) in Metro Vancouver, Canada (2010–2012). Prevalence of physical and sexual IPV was measured using the WHO standardized IPV scale (version 9.9). Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression using Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) were used to examine interpersonal and structural correlates of IPV over two years.
At baseline, 387 SWs had a male, intimate sexual partner and were eligible for this analysis. One-fifth (n = 83, 21.5%) experienced recent physical/sexual IPV at baseline and 26.2% over two-years follow-up. In multivariable GEE analysis, factors independently correlated with physical/sexual IPV in the last six months include: childhood (<18 years) sexual/physical abuse (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.05, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.14–3.69), inconsistent condom use for vaginal and/or anal sex with intimate partner (AOR = 1.84, 95% CI: 1.07–3.16), <daily prescription opioid use (AOR = 1.72, 95% CI: 1.02–2.89), providing financial support to intimate partner (AOR = 1.65, 95% CI: 1.05–2.59), and sourcing drugs from intimate partner (AOR = 1.62, 95% CI: 1.02–2.26).
Our results demonstrate that over one-fifth of SWs in Vancouver report physical/sexual IPV in the last six months. The socio-structural correlates of IPV uncovered here highlight potential HIV risk pathways through SWs’ intimate, non-commercial partner relationships. The high prevalence of IPV among SWs is a critical public health concern and underscores the need for integrated violence and HIV prevention and intervention strategies tailored to this key population.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We conducted a systematic review in June 2012 (updated September 2013) to examine the prevalence and factors shaping sexual or physical violence against sex workers globally. We identified 1536 (update = 340) unique articles. We included 28 studies, with 14 more contributing to violence prevalence estimates. Lifetime prevalence of any or combined workplace violence ranged from 45% to 75% and over the past year, 32% to 55%. Growing research links contextual factors with violence against sex workers, alongside known interpersonal and individual risks. This high burden of violence against sex workers globally and large gaps in epidemiological data support the need for research and structural interventions to better document and respond to the contextual factors shaping this violence. Measurement and methodological innovation, in partnership with sex work communities, are critical. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print March 13, 2014: e1-e13. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.301909).
No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · American Journal of Public Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article reviews the current state of the epidemiological literature on female sex work and HIV from the past 18 months. We offer a conceptual framework for structural HIV determinants and sex work that unpacks intersecting structural, interpersonal, and individual biological and behavioural factors.
Our review suggests that despite the heavy HIV burden among female sex workers (FSWs) globally, data on the structural determinants shaping HIV transmission dynamics have only begun to emerge. Emerging research suggests that factors operating at macrostructural (e.g., migration, stigma, criminalized laws), community organization (e.g., empowerment) and work environment levels (e.g., violence, policing, access to condoms HIV testing, HAART) act dynamically with interpersonal (e.g., dyad factors, sexual networks) and individual biological and behavioural factors to confer risks or protections for HIV transmission in female sex work.
Future research should be guided by a Structural HIV Determinants Framework to better elucidate the complex and iterative effects of structural determinants with interpersonal and individual biological and behavioural factors on HIV transmission pathways among FSWs, and meet critical gaps in optimal access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care for FSWs globally.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Current opinion in HIV and AIDS
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Female sex workers (FSWs) bear a disproportionately large burden of HIV infection worldwide. Despite decades of research and programme activity, the epidemiology of HIV and the role that structural determinants have in mitigating or potentiating HIV epidemics and access to care for FSWs is poorly understood. We reviewed available published data for HIV prevalence and incidence, condom use, and structural determinants among this group. Only 87 (43%) of 204 unique studies reviewed explicitly examined structural determinants of HIV. Most studies were from Asia, with few from areas with a heavy burden of HIV such as sub-Saharan Africa, Russia, and eastern Europe. To further explore the potential effect of structural determinants on the course of epidemics, we used a deterministic transmission model to simulate potential HIV infections averted through structural changes in regions with concentrated and generalised epidemics, and high HIV prevalence among FSWs. This modelling suggested that elimination of sexual violence alone could avert 17% of HIV infections in Kenya (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 1–31) and 20% in Canada (95% UI 3–39) through its immediate and sustained effect on non-condom use) among FSWs and their clients in the next decade. In Kenya, scaling up of access to antiretroviral therapy among FSWs and their clients to meet WHO eligibility of a CD4 cell count of less than 500 cells per μL could avert 34% (95% UI 25–42) of infections and even modest coverage of sex worker-led outreach could avert 20% (95% UI 8–36) of infections in the next decade. Decriminalisation of sex work would have the greatest effect on the course of HIV epidemics across all settings, averting 33–46% of HIV infections in the next decade. Multipronged structural and community-led interventions are crucial to increase access to prevention and treatment and to promote human rights for FSWs worldwide.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Avahan, the India AIDS initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was a large-scale, targeted HIV prevention intervention. We aimed to assess its overall effectiveness by estimating the number and proportion of HIV infections averted across Avahan districts, following the causal pathway of the intervention.
METHODS We created a mathematical model of HIV transmission in high-risk groups and the general population using data from serial cross-sectional surveys (integrated behavioural and biological assessments, IBBAs) within a Bayesian framework, which we used to reproduce HIV prevalence trends in female sex workers and their clients, men who have sex with men, and the general population in 24 South Indian districts over the first 4 years (2004-07 or 2005-08 dependent on the district) and the full 10 years (2004-13) of the Avahan programme. We tested whether these prevalence trends were more consistent with self-reported increases in consistent condom use after the implementation of Avahan or with a counterfactual (assuming consistent condom use increased at slower, pre-Avahan rates) using a Bayes factor, which gave a measure of the strength of evidence for the effectiveness estimates. Using regression analysis, we extrapolated the prevention effect in the districts covered by IBBAs to all 69 Avahan districts.
FINDINGS In 13 of 24 IBBA districts, modelling suggested medium to strong evidence for the large self-reported increase in consistent condom use since Avahan implementation. In the remaining 11 IBBA districts, the evidence was weaker, with consistent condom use generally already high before Avahan began. Roughly 32 700 HIV infections (95% credibility interval 17 900-61 600) were averted over the first 4 years of the programme in the IBBA districts with moderate to strong evidence. Addition of the districts with weaker evidence increased this total to 62 800 (32 000-118 000) averted infections, and extrapolation suggested that 202 000 (98 300-407 000) infections were averted across all 69 Avahan districts in South India, increasing to 606 000 (290 000-1 193 000) over 10 years. Over the first 4 years of the programme 42% of HIV infections were averted, and over 10 years 57% were averted.
INTERPRETATION This is the first assessment of Avahan to account for the causal pathway of the intervention, that of changing risk behaviours in female sex workers and high-risk men who have sex with men to avert HIV infections in these groups and the general population. The findings suggest that substantial preventive effects can be achieved by targeted behavioural HIV prevention initiatives.
FUNDING Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · The Lancet Global Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clients of female sex workers (FSWs) are an important bridging population for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. However, the extent of risk to female noncommercial partners (NCPs) of clients has not been explored.
Data originated from a cross-sectional behavioral and biological survey of FSW clients from 5 districts in Karnataka state, southern India. Clients were classified into 3 groups: married, single with at least 1 NCP, and single without an NCP. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression models were constructed to examine the association between group membership and condom use patterns with FSWs and, where applicable, NCPs. HIV, herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), and other sexually transmitted infections were examined. Normalized weights were used to account for a complex sampling design.
Most respondents in our sample (n = 2328) were married (61%). Compared with single respondents without an NCP, married clients were more likely to never use condoms with both occasional (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3-2.5; P < 0.0001) and regular (AOR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1-2.6; P = 0.015) FSWs. Among clients with an NCP, married clients were at higher odds of never using a condom with their NCP (AOR, 5.5; 95% CI, 3.7-8.1; P < 0.0001). Overall prevalence for HIV, HSV-2, syphilis, and chlamydia or gonorrhea infection was 5.7%, 28.3%, 3.6%, and 2.1%, respectively. The prevalence of HSV-2 was 37%, 16%, and 19% among those who were married, those single without an NCP, and those single with an NCP, respectively.
Married respondents were least likely to use condoms with both commercial and noncommercial sexual partners, while also having the highest prevalence of HSV-2. These results illustrate the risk posed to both commercial partners and NCPs of married clients.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Sexually transmitted diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:: Among sex workers (SWs) in Vancouver, Canada, this study identified social, drug use, sex work, environmental-structural and client-related factors associated with being offered and accepting more money after clients' demand for sex without a condom. DESIGN:: Cross-sectional study using baseline (February/10-October/11) data from a longitudinal cohort of 510 SWs. METHODS:: A two-part multivariable regression model was used to identify factors associated with two separate outcomes: (1) being offered and (2) accepting more money for sex without a condom in the last six months, among those who had been offered more money. RESULTS:: The sample included 490 SWs. In multivariable analysis, being offered more money for sex without a condom was more likely for SWs who used speedballs, had higher average numbers of clients per week, had difficulty accessing condoms and had clients who visited other SWs. Accepting more money for sex without a condom was more likely for SWs self-reporting as a sexual minority and who had experienced client violence and used crystal methamphetamine use less than daily (vs. none), and less likely for SWs who solicited for clients mainly indoors (vs. outdoor/public places). CONCLUSIONS:: These results highlight the high demand for sex without a condom by clients of SWs. HIV prevention efforts should shift responsibility toward clients to reduce offers of more money for unsafe sex. Programs that mitigate the social and economic risk environments of SWs alongside the removal of criminal sanctions on sex work to enable condom use within safer indoor work spaces are urgently required.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:: Estimate the potential impact of Avahan, the India AIDS Initiative, among female sex workers(FSWs) and their clients in five districts of Karnataka state, South India. DESIGN:: Examination of time trends in sexually transmitted infection(STI)/HIV prevalence from serial cross-sectional surveys, combined with mathematical modelling. METHODS:: Survey data from each district were used to monitor changes in FSW STI/HIV prevalence during Avahan. A deterministic model, parameterized with district-specific survey data, was used to simulate HIV/HSV-2/syphilis transmission among high-risk groups in each district. Latin hypercube sampling was used to obtain multiple parameter sets that reproduced district-specific HIV prevalence trends. A Bayesian framework tested whether self-reported increases in consistent condom use(CCU) during Avahan were more compatible with FSW HIV prevalence trends than assuming no or slow (pre-intervention rates) CCU increases, and were used to estimate HIV incidence and infections averted. RESULTS:: Declines in FSW HIV prevalence occurred over 5 years in all districts, and were statistically significant in three. Self-reported increases in CCU were more consistent with observed declines in HIV prevalence in three districts. In all five districts, an estimated 25-64% (32-70%) HIV infections were averted among FSWs (clients) over 5 years. This corresponded to 142-2092 FSW infections averted depending on the district (2-9-fold more among clients). CONCLUSIONS:: Empirical HIV prevalence trends combined with Bayesian modelling has provided plausible evidence that Avahan has reduced HIV transmission among FSWs and their clients. If current CCU levels are sustained, FSW HIV prevalence could decline to low levels by 2015, with many more infections averted.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · AIDS (London, England)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study characterized the type and frequency of violence against female sex workers (FSWs) perpetrated by their clients and their main intimate or other nonpaying partner (NPP) and examined the relationship between violence and inconsistent condom use (ICU, G100%). The factors associated with client violence were also assessed.
Data were analyzed from cross-sectional surveys of FSWs in Karnataka state (2007-2008), India. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the following: (1) relationship between client or NPP violence (physical and/or sexual) and ICU by occasional/repeat clients or the NPP and (2) relationship between social and environmental factors and client violence.
Of 1219 FSWs, 9.6% (111) and 3.7% (42) reported experiencing violence by clients and the NPP, respectively. In multivariable analysis, after adjusting for social and environmental factors, the odds of ICU by occasional clients were significantly higher for women who had experienced client violence (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.7; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.6-4.4). Similar results were found with repeat clients (AOR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.4-3.4). Nonpaying partner violence was not significantly associated with ICU by the NPP. In multivariable analysis, only being recently arrested remained significantly associated with experiencing client violence (AOR, 1.8; 95% CIs, 1.0-3.3).
The findings from this study provide evidence of a relationship between experiencing client violence and ICU by occasional and repeat clients, and a relationship between being arrested and client violence. Comprehensive structural/policy programming for FSWs, including within HIV-focused prevention programs, is urgently needed to help reduce FSWs' vulnerability to violence
No preview · Article · Feb 2013 · Sexually transmitted diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Employing innovative mapping and spatial analyses of individual and neighborhood environment data, we examined the social, physical and structural features of overlapping street-based sex work and drug scenes and explored the utility of a ‘spatial isolation index’ in explaining exchanging sex for drugs and exchanging sex while high.
Analyses drew on baseline interview and geographic data (Jan/10-Oct/11) from a large prospective cohort of street and off-street sex workers (SWs) in Metropolitan Vancouver and external publically-available, neighborhood environment data. An index measuring ‘spatial isolation’ was developed from seven indicators measuring features of the built environment within 50 m buffers (e.g. industrial or commercial zoning, lighting) surrounding sex work environments. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression was used to examine associations between the two outcomes (exchanged sex for drugs; exchanged sex while high) and the index, as well as each individual indicator.
Of 510 SWs, 328 worked in street-based/outdoor environments (e.g. streets, parks, alleys) and were included in the analyses. In multivariable analysis, increased spatial isolation surrounding street-based/outdoor SWs’ main places of servicing clients as measured with the index was significantly associated with exchanging sex for drugs. Exchanging sex for drugs was also significantly positively associated with an indicator of the built environment suggesting greater spatial isolation (increased percent of parks) and negatively associated with those suggesting decreased spatial isolation (increased percent commercial areas, increased count of lighting, increased building footprint). Exchanging sex while high was negatively associated with increased percent of commercial zones but this association was removed when adjusting for police harassment.
The results from our exploratory study highlight how built environment shapes risks within overlapping street-based sex work and drug scenes through the development of a novel index comprised of multiple indicators of the built environment available through publicly available data, This study informs the important role that spatially-oriented responses, such as safer-environment interventions, and structural responses, such as decriminalization of sex work can play in improving the health, safety and well-being of SWs.
No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · The International journal on drug policy