Sexual networking in provincial Thailand.Stud Fam Plann. 1993 Jan-Feb; 24(1):1-17.SF
Thailand is currently experiencing a major HIV epidemic, spread primarily through heterosexual contact. Patronage of prostitutes is relatively common. In-depth, open-ended interviews were conducted in a Central Thai province with a purposive sample of 181 urban men who had had sexual relations with at least two different women during the prior year. Additional qualitative information is provided by interviews with 50 women. The most common network pattern for men was a combination of commercial and noncommercial sexual relationships. Men reported that they commonly used condoms when they engaged in sex with prostitutes, but condom use was lowest for men who were the most frequent patrons. In noncommercial, nonmarital relationships, men screen partners for risk rather than practice safe sex, and condom use is generally low. Persons involved in noncommercial sexual networks are largely unaware that their partner may link them to a larger network of sexual contacts and associated risks of HIV infection. Men who have both commercial and noncommercial sexual partners can be found throughout the social strata. A program that focuses only on the closed commercial sex network will address only partially the real risk situations.