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133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Sheri Lippman, MPH1, Angela Donini, MA2, Elaine Bortolanza2, Magda Chinaglia, MD, PhD1, and Deanna Kerrigan, MHS, PhD3. (1) The Population Council, Brazil, Rua Dr. Ruy Vicente de Mello, 1047, Cidade Universitaria, Campinas, 13084-050, Brazil, (2) Projeto Encontros, Rua Ciriaco de Toledo, 1624, Corumbá, MS, 79321-160, Brazil, (3) International Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, 410-614-0075, email@example.com
Issues: Sex workers (SW) may experience social vulnerability to STI/HIV transmission due to discrimination, which discourages participation in public life and forging of cohesive communities. Stigma further deters sex workers from seeking prevention and care services, obtaining social benefits and civil rights. Description: Projeto Encontros (Coming together) seeks to prevent STI/HIV by working with the community of SW to modify the social environment, decreasing stigma and increasing social cohesion and capital, in Corumbá, a Brazilian-Bolivian border town. One project focus is facilitating sex workers participation in public life by creating partnerships between SW, local government, NGOs, and project staff. Together these actors have organized educational and political sensitization activities to reduce stigma, conducted theater, makeup and modeling workshops to promote SW sense of self worth, and facilitated events at the city's cultural center where SW, public figures, family and community members attended performances with messages focused on HIV prevention. Lessons Learned: Monthly evaluative focus groups indicate an increase in SW group cohesion and a reduction in social prejudices, as increased visibility of SW within the city has facilitated greater awareness and receptivity. Greater numbers of SW participate in project events monthly; greater numbers are accessing health services; and participants have begun organizing a SW run NGO to continue project activities. Recommendations: Collective action is dependent upon individual self-acceptance and community cohesion and maximized as tolerance from civil society increases; hence multi-level and multi-sectoral approaches are needed to address STI/HIV among marginalized groups such as sex workers.
Keywords: HIV Interventions, Sex Workers
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.
The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA