Social-environmental factors and protective sexual behavior among sex workers: The Encontros intervention in Brazil

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Objectives: We sought to determine the association of social-environmental factors with condom use and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among 420 sex workers participating in an STI/HIV prevention study in Corumbá, Brazil, to inform future intervention efforts. Methods: Participants provided urine samples for polymerase chain reaction testing of chlamydia and gonorrhea and responded to multi-item scales addressing perceived social cohesion, participation in networks, and access to and management of resources. We conducted multivariate log-linear and negative binomial regression analyses of these data. Results: Increased social cohesion was inversely associated with number of unprotected sex acts in the preceding week among women (adjusted incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 0.80; P < .01), and there was a marginal association among men (adjusted IRR = 0.41; P = .08). Women's increased participation in social networks was associated with a decrease in frequency of unprotected sex acts (adjusted IRR = 0.83; P = .04), as was men's access to and management of social and material resources (IRR = 0.15; P = .01). Social-environmental factors were not associated with STIs. Conclusions: The social context within which populations negotiate sexual behaviors is associated with condom use. Future efforts to prevent STI/HIV should incorporate strategies to modify the social environment.






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