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HIV prevention while bulldozers roll : developing evidence based HIV prevention intervention for female sex workers following the demolition of Goa's redlight area

Background: Interventions targeting female sex workers (FSWs) are pivotal to HIV prevention in India. Societal factors and legislation around sex-work are potential barriers to achieving this. In recent years several high profile closures of red-light areas and dance bars in India have occurred. In this thesis I describe the effects of the demolition of Goa’s red-light area on the organsiation of sex-work, HIV risk environment, and implications for evidence-based HIV prevention. Methods: The pre-demolition phase was a detailed ethnographic study. The early post-demolition phase included rapid ethnographic mapping of sex-work in the immediate aftermath. The late post-demolition phase was a cross-sectional survey supplemented by an in-depth qualitative study. 326 FSWs were recruited throughout Goa using respondent-driven-sampling, and completed interviewer-administered questionnaires. They were tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV. Results: The homogeneous brothel-based sex-work in Goa evolved into heterogeneous, clandestine and dispersed types of sex-work. The working environment was higher risk and less conducive to HIV prevention. Infections were common with 25.7% prevalence of HIV and 22.5% prevalence of curable STIs. Women who had never worked in Baina, young women, and those who had recently started sex-work were particularly likely to have curable STIs, a marker of recent sexual risk. STIs were independently associated with young age, lack of schooling, no financial autonomy, deliberate-self-harm, sexual-abuse, regular customers, streetbased sex-work, Goan ethnicity, and being asymptomatic. Having knowledge about HIV, access to free STI services, and having an intimate partner were associated with a lower likelihood of STIs. HIV was independently associated with being Hindu, recent migration to Goa, lodge or brothel-based sex work, and dysuria. Conclusions: Tackling structural and gender-based determinants of HIV are integral to HIV prevention strategies. Prohibition and any form of criminalisation of sex-work reduce the sex workers’ agency and create barriers to effective HIV prevention.
Date January 2010
CreatorsShahmanesh, M.
PublisherUniversity College London (University of London)
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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