Yale University

Sex workers in HIV prevention: From Social Change Agents to Peer Educators.

TitleSex workers in HIV prevention: From Social Change Agents to Peer Educators.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsGeorge, Annie, Kim M. Blankenship, Monica R. Biradavolu, Nimesh Dhungana, and Nehanda Tankasala
JournalGlobal public health
Date Published2014 Oct 31
AbstractWe utilised a comparative ethnographic approach to study the implementation of a community mobilisation intervention addressing HIV risk among female sex workers (FSWs) in India, as implemented first by an non-governmental organisation and after oversight of the intervention was transitioned to the government. We demonstrate that the work of peer outreach workers changed from Social Change Agents within a community-led structural intervention (CLSI) to Peer Educators within a targeted intervention (TI). In the CLSI approach, built on the assumption that FSW risk for HIV is rooted in power inequality and structural vulnerability, peer outreach workers mobilised their peers through community-based organisations to address underlying conditions of inequality and vulnerability. In contrast, the TI approach, which views FSW risk as a function of limited knowledge and barriers to services, addressed peers' access to information and health services. Analysis of changes in the function of peer outreach workers reveals critical differences of which we discuss four: assumptions about conditions that produce HIV risk; degree of emphasis placed on collective mobilising and building collective power; extent to which community mobilisation and HIV prevention goals are linked; and the intervention's use of peer input. We discuss the implications of these findings for HIV prevention programming.
Alternate JournalGlob Public Health

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