Violence experience by perpetrator and associations with HIV/STI risk and infection: a cross-sectional study among female sex workers in Karnataka, south India.BMJ Open. 2018 09 11; 8(9):e021389.BO
Female sex workers (FSWs) experience violence from a range of perpetrators, but little is known about how violence experience across multiple settings (workplace, community, domestic) impacts on HIV/sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk. We examined whether HIV/STI risk differs by the perpetrator of violence.
An Integrated Biological and Behavioural Assessment survey was conducted among random samples of FSWs in two districts (Bangalore and Shimoga) in Karnataka state, south India, in 2011. Physical and sexual violence in the past six months, by workplace (client, police, coworker, pimp) or community (stranger, rowdy, neighbour, auto-driver) perpetrators was assessed, as was physical and sexual intimate partner violence in the past 12 months. Weighted, bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to examine associations between violence by perpetrator and HIV/STI risk.
1111 FSWs were included (Bangalore=718, Shimoga=393). Overall, 34.9% reported recent physical and/or sexual violence. Violence was experienced from domestic (27.1%), workplace (11.1%) and community (4.2%) perpetrators, with 6.2% of participants reporting recent violence from both domestic and non-domestic (workplace/community) perpetrators. Adjusted analysis suggests that experience of violence by workplace/community perpetrators is more important in increasing HIV/STI risk during sex work (lower condom use with clients; client or FSW under the influence of alcohol at last sex) than domestic violence. However, women who reported recent violence by domestic and workplace/community perpetrators had the highest odds of high-titre syphilis infection, recent STI symptoms and condom breakage at last sex, and the lowest odds of condom use at last sex with regular clients compared with women who reported violence by domestic or workplace/community perpetrators only.
HIV/STI risk differs by the perpetrator of violence and is highest among FSWs experiencing violence in the workplace/community and at home. Effective HIV/STI prevention programmes with FSWs need to include violence interventions that address violence across both their personal and working lives.