Mobilising community collectivisation among female sex workers to promote STI service utilisation from the government healthcare system in Andhra Pradesh, India

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: To assess the association between female sex workers’ (FSWs) degree of community collectivisation and self-efficacy, utilisation of sexually transmitted infection (STI) services from government-run health centres in Andhra Pradesh, India. Methods: Cross-sectional analyses of 1,986 FSWs recruited using a probability-based sampling from five districts of Andhra Pradesh during 2010–2011. Multiple logistic regression models were constructed to assess associations. The independent variables included—collective efficacy, collective agency and collective action—measured using a series of items that assessed the grouping of the community on issues that concern most sex workers. An additional independent variable included FSWs belonging to an area where there was a project partnership with government health centres to provide STI treatment services to FSWs. The outcome indicators included self-efficacy for service utilisation from government health facilities and the treatment for STIs from government health facilities at least once in the past year experience of STI symptoms. Results: Of the 1,986 FSWs, nearly two-fifths (39.5%) reported a high level of overall collectivisation (collective efficacy: 89%, collective agency: 50.7%; collective action: 12.7%). Sex workers with a high degree compared with low degree of overall collectivisation were significantly more likely to report high self-efficacy to use government health facilities (75.0% vs 57.3%, adjusted OR 2.5, 95% CI 2.0 to 3.1) and to use government health centres for STI treatment in past 1 year (78.1% vs 63.2%, adjusted OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.6 to 2.8), irrespective of project partnership with government centres. Conclusion: The current research findings reinforce the need for stronger community mobilisation for better utilisation of government health facilities for STI and HIV prevention interventions.