Online Program

Examining the spatial clustering of sex work venues: A comparison of HIV risk in los angeles and New York City

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Lois Takahashi, PhD, Department of Urban Planning, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
John J. Chin, MS, PhD, Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, NY
Anna Kim, MA, PhD, School of City & Regional Planning, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
Karin Elizabeth Tobin, PhD, Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Elana Behar, MA, Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, Hunter College, New York, NY
Jury Candelario, APAIT Health Center, Los Angeles, CA
Yumiko Fukuda, LMSW, APICHA, New York, NY
Background: Sex work in Los Angeles and New York City has increasingly moved from the streets into indoor venues, such as massage parlors, acupuncture clinics, hotels and bars, because of heightened enforcement of anti-prostitution ordinances and the internet. This paper examines the characteristics of sex work venues, and the potential spatial clustering of higher HIV risk venues, in Los Angeles County and New York City through a mapping analysis of an online rating website used by male clients to describe Asian and Latina/Hispanic female sex workers. Methods: The popular massage parlor review website we studied boasts 65,000 reviews of 25,000 sex workers. Variables include race/ethnicity, estimated age, sexual services provided, and location of establishment. GIS mapping of worker and establishment characteristics and logistic regression models estimating sexual practices were used to analyze potential clustering of venues and HIV transmission risk in venues by race/ethnicity and age of the female sex workers. Conclusions: Analysis suggests that Chinese women engage in “hand jobs” (lower HIV risk) while Korean and Latina/Hispanic women engage in “full service sex” (vaginal and other sex services, higher HIV risk). There appears to be venue concentrations of lower and higher HIV risk (indicated by differential condom use described in the reviews), varying geographically by region and by ethnicity. Most of the venues are not in the downtown historic “red light” districts but rather in suburban and higher income census tracts. Implications are discussed for HIV prevention interventions in these high risk populations in large metropolitan areas.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the HIV transmission risk among Asian and Latina/Hispanic female sex workers who work in indoor or off-street sex work establishments Analyze the locations of these establishments to assess the degree of spatial clustering Identify possible implications for intervention design and delivery given spatial clustering

Keyword(s): Geographic Information Systems, HIV Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PI on the NIH grant for the study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.