Community Mobilisation and Empowerment of Female Sex Workers in Karnataka State, South India: HIV/STI Risk

Beattie T. S., Mohan H. L., Bhattacharjee P., Chandrashekar S., Isac S., Wheeler T., Prakash R., Ramesh B. M., Blanchard J. F., Heise L., Vickerman P., Moses S., Watts C.
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A series of behavioural-biological surveys in 2008 and 2011 in four districts of Karnataka found that mobilising female sex workers is central to effective HIV prevention programming. Defining community mobilisation exposure as low, medium or high, the study revealed female sex workers with high exposure to community mobilisation are:

  • more likely to have been tested for HIV
  • more likely to have used a condom at last sex with occasional clients, repeat clients and regular partners
  • less likely to be infected with gonorrhea or chlamyida

These findings suggest that even in times of constrained budgets and limited resources, community mobilisation should not be seen as a luxury “add-on” to the traditional biomedical HIV prevention model. Rather, the findings suggest that community mobilisation has formed an important and integral part of the success of the Avahan HIV prevention programme.

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