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1.
PLoS One ; 17(3): e0265434, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742024

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite the established efficacy of PrEP to prevent HIV and the advantages of a user-controlled method, PrEP uptake and persistence by women in both trials and demonstration projects has been suboptimal. We utilized real-world data from an HIV service provider to describe persistence on oral PrEP among female sex workers (FSW) in eThekwini, South Africa. METHODS: We examined time from PrEP initiation to discontinuation among all FSW initiating PrEP at TB HIV Care in eThekwini between 2016-2020. We used a discrete time-to-event data setup and stacked cumulative incidence function plots, displaying the competing risks of 1) not returning for PrEP, 2) client discontinuation, and 3) provider discontinuation. We calculated hazard ratios using complementary log-log regression and sub-hazard ratios using competing risks regression. RESULTS: The number of initiations increased each year from 155 (9.3%, n = 155/1659) in 2016 to 1224 (27.5%, n = 1224/4446) in 2020. Persistence 1-month after initiation was 53% (95% CI: 51%-55%). Younger women were more likely to discontinue PrEP by not returning compared with those 25 years and older. Risk of discontinuation through non-return declined for those initiating in later years. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a greater number of initiations and sustained persistence were observed in 2020. CONCLUSIONS: Low levels of PrEP persistence were observed, consistent with data among underserved women elsewhere. Encouragingly, the proportion of women persisting increased over time, even as the number of women newly initiating PrEP and staff workload increased. Further research is needed to understand which implementation strategies the program may have enacted to facilitate these improvements and what further changes may be necessary.


Subject(s)
Anti-HIV Agents/therapeutic use , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Medication Adherence/statistics & numerical data , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis/statistics & numerical data , Sex Workers/statistics & numerical data , Administration, Oral , Adult , Anti-HIV Agents/administration & dosage , Female , Humans , Medication Adherence/psychology , Sex Workers/psychology , South Africa/epidemiology , Young Adult
2.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(3)2022 01 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1648423

ABSTRACT

The objective of this study is to explore the impacts of COVID-19 and changes taking place among the Indonesian female sex worker (FSW) community during the COVID-19 pandemic and the predictors of these changes. We conducted a cross-sectional online survey and selected the participants using a purposive snowball sampling technique. Incentives were provided to participants in the form of a 5 USD e-wallet balance. Variables of interest included adaptation to online sex work, adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures during sex work, number of clients, income reduction, social support, condom access, and condom use frequency. Sociodemographic data and COVID-19 fear index values were also collected. Final analysis included 951 FSWs, of whom 36.4% of had adapted to online sex work and 48.6% had practiced COVID-19 prevention measures. Major reductions in client frequency and income were reported by 67.8% and 71.1% of respondents, respectively. However, only 36.3% of FSWs reported they had ever received any form of social support from any parties, public or private. Meanwhile, 16.7% encountered difficulties in accessing condoms and 12.5% reported less frequent condom use during the pandemic. Easy access to condoms was the main factor influencing the frequency of condom use. As expected, staying in employment protected FSWs from major income loss, while education and younger age predicted adaptive behavioral changes, such as taking up online sex work. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted access to socioeconomic support systems and HIV prevention services among FSWs and has further exposed them to the dual jeopardy of HIV and COVID-19 infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sex Workers , Condoms , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Indonesia/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Safe Sex
3.
Curr HIV/AIDS Rep ; 19(1): 76-85, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1530395

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its public health response on key populations at risk of HIV infection, with a focus on sex workers. RECENT FINDINGS: Since last year several groups have documented how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the livelihoods and health of sex workers. We focus on case studies from Kenya, Ukraine, and India and place these in the broader global context of sex worker communities, drawing on common themes that span geographies. COVID-19-associated lockdowns have significantly disrupted sex work, leading to economic and health challenges for sex workers, ranging from HIV-related services to mental health and exposure to violence. Several adaptations have been undertaken by sex workers and frontline workers, including migration, a move to mobile services, and struggling to find economic supports. Strengthening community-based responses for future pandemics and other shocks is critical to safeguard the health of marginalized populations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sex Workers , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Developing Countries , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Socioeconomic Factors
4.
Arch Sex Behav ; 51(1): 331-342, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1527477

ABSTRACT

Primary or first-hand stigma, associated with sex work, sometimes disparagingly referred to as "prostitution" or "whore" stigma, was a fundamental cause of social inequities for sex workers before the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, courtesy stigma, or stigma by association linked with involvement with a stigmatized group, has long limited the ability of sex worker organizations to secure adequate funds to meet the needs of sex workers in their communities. In reaction to the pandemic, sex worker organizations quickly responded and in a variety of ways have been helping to ease the impact of the pandemic on sex workers in their communities. In November 2020, we interviewed 10 members of sex worker organizations from seven different communities across Canada about how they have been dealing with the immediate and longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in their communities. Three strategic actions stood out in the interviews: (1) challenging stigma to help sex workers access government emergency funding; (2) reorganizing and adapting services to provide outreach to sex workers in their communities; and (3) advocating for continuous organizational funding. The findings show that primary stigma and courtesy stigma have further marginalized sex worker organizations and their clients during the pandemic. We conclude with participants' recommendations to address avoidable harms of COVID-19 among sex workers and to better support sex worker organizations in Canada.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Sex Workers , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Stigma
5.
J Int AIDS Soc ; 24 Suppl 6: e25813, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1487490

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Sisters with a Voice (Sisters), a programme providing community-led differentiated HIV prevention and treatment services, including condoms, HIV testing, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and antiretroviral therapy linkage for sex workers, reached over 26,000 female sex workers (FSW) across Zimbabwe in 2020. Zimbabwe's initial Covid "lockdown" in March 2020 and associated movement restrictions interrupted clinical service provision for 6 weeks, particularly in mobile clinics, triggering the adaptation of services for the Covid-19 context and a scale up of differentiated service delivery (DSD) models. PrEP service delivery decentralized with shifts from clinical settings towards community/home-based, peer-led PrEP services to expand and maintain access. We hypothesize that peer-led community-based provision of PrEP services influenced both demand and supply-side determinants of PrEP uptake. We observed the effect of these adaptations on PrEP uptake among FSW accessing services in Sisters in 2020. METHODS: New FSW PrEP initiations throughout 2020 were tracked by analysing routine Sisters programme data and comparing it with national PrEP initiation data for 2020. We mapped PrEP uptake among all negative FSW attending services in Sisters alongside Covid-19 adaptations and shifts in the operating environment throughout 2020: prior to lockdown (January-March 2020), during severe restrictions (April-June 2020), subsequent easing (July-September 2020) and during drug stockouts that followed (October-December 2020). RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: PrEP uptake in 2020 occurred at rates <25% (315 initiations or fewer) per month prior to the emergence of Covid-19. In response to Covid-19 restrictions, DSD models were scaled up in April 2020, including peer demand creation, community-based delivery, multi-month dispensing and the use of virtual platforms for appointment scheduling and post-PrEP initiation support. Beginning May 2020, PrEP uptake increased monthly, peaking at an initiation rate of 51% (n = 1360) in September 2020. Unexpected rise in demand coincided with national commodity shortages between October and December 2020, resulting in restriction of new initiations with sites prioritizing refills. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the impact of Covid-19 on the Sisters Programme and FSW mobility, DSD adaptations led to a large increase in PrEP initiations compared to pre-Covid levels demonstrating that a peer-led, community-based PrEP service delivery model is effective and can be adopted for long-term use.


Subject(s)
Anti-HIV Agents , COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis , Sex Workers , Anti-HIV Agents/therapeutic use , Communicable Disease Control , Female , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
6.
J Int AIDS Soc ; 24 Suppl 6: e25800, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1487485

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: There are limited data on the impact of COVID-19-associated disruptions and novel HIV service delivery strategies among key populations (KPs) in low- and middle-income countries. In March 2020, in response to COVID-19, the Government of India revised HIV service delivery policies to include community antiretroviral therapy (ART) distribution and multi-month dispensing (MMD) of ART for all people living with HIV (PLHIV). METHODS: To assess the acceptability of these adaptations and impact of the pandemic among KPs, we conducted focus groups in November-December 2020 with purposively sampled men who have sex with men (MSM), female sex workers (FSWs) and transgender women (TGW) in Telangana and Maharashtra. Seven discussions were conducted. Topics included HIV service access, risk behaviours, economic security and feedback to ensure service continuity. Inductive coding identified themes across topics. RESULTS: Forty-four individuals aged 20-49 years participated in discussions (13 MSM; 16 FSW; and 15 TGW). Twenty-four participants self-identified as living with HIV. People not living with HIV reported challenges in accessing HIV antibody testing at hospitals due to travel restrictions and fear of contracting COVID-19. Participants accessed HIV antibody testing using transportation arranged by community-based organizations after lockdowns eased. PLHIV reported uninterrupted ART refills and generally consistent adherence; however, there were experiences of delayed CD4 and HIV RNA testing. Participants shared appreciation for MMD as it saved time, money, and reduced exposure to COVID-19. Participants expressed gratitude for home deliveries which enabled ART access, yet shared concerns about home-based services causing confidentiality breaches with family/neighbours. Participants voiced preferences for community-based service provision due to proximity, convenient hours, and welcoming environments compared to public hospitals. Other requests included support for income, employment, nutrient-rich food and more accessible mental health, HIV, and other health services. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 restrictions had a greater impact on access to HIV antibody, CD4, and RNA testing services compared to ART access. High acceptance of MMD and community-based services support the continued role of differentiated service delivery models to improve KP access to HIV antibody, CD4, RNA testing services, convenient ART retrieval, and integrated services beyond HIV, which may be critical for survival and wellbeing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sex Workers , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Communicable Disease Control , Female , Focus Groups , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , India , Male , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Int J Equity Health ; 20(1): 237, 2021 10 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1486579

ABSTRACT

We argue commercial sex workers have rights to healthcare and psychosocial support. While decriminalization is not legally enacted in most countries, we would suggest these workers rights include freedom from harassment and opportunities to lead healthy lives. The need for healthcare access for all is heightened in the COVID-19 pandemic where some people flout rules on lockdown by engaging with commercial sex workers and may unwittingly spread SARS-CoV-2 in so doing. Unrestricted healthcare access without stigma for commercial sex workers protects them, and has a beneficial societal effect on those who engage with them and on their contacts.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Sex Workers , Communicable Disease Control , Health Personnel , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Am J Trop Med Hyg ; 105(6): 1460-1462, 2021 Oct 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1485310

ABSTRACT

As the COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll on citizens across the globe, more people turn to sex work for survival. Because sex work is inherently physical and intimate, sex workers become defenseless against the virus and act as a bridge for transmitting the virus to their clients and society. Often, sex workers are the victims of violence and homelessness, and are devoid of health-care facilities, including HIV treatment, and are frequently exposed to a large number of individuals as dictated by the nature of their work. Their survival instincts would drive them to take part in their usual job to earn money, despite added health risks, to survive and feed their families. Worldwide, sex workers do not fully benefit from the COVID-19 responses, particularly in health, social, and economic aid assistance and services. Hence, it is essential to include this vulnerable population in the COVID-19 vaccination programs to halt the further spread of the virus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Sex Workers , Vaccination , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Global Health , Homeless Persons , Humans , Violence , Vulnerable Populations
9.
Int J Infect Dis ; 104: 510-525, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454176

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) are substantial public health threats in the region of Central Asia and the Caucasus, where the prevalence of these infections is currently rising. METHODS: A systematic review of MEDLINE, Embase and PsycINFO was conducted with no publication date or language restrictions through October 2019. Additional data were also harvested from national surveillance reports, references found in discovered sources, and other "grey" literature. It included studies conducted on high-risk populations (people who inject drugs (PWID), female sex workers (FSW), men who have sex with men (MSM), prisoners, and migrants) in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan; and the Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Northern Caucasus region of the Russian Federation. RESULTS: Wide ranges were noted for HIV prevalence: PWID 0-30.1%, MSM 0-25.1%, prisoners 0-22.8%, FSW 0-10.0%, and migrants 0.06-1.5%, with the highest prevalence of these high-risk groups reported in Kazakhstan (for PWID), Georgia (for MSM and prisoners) and Uzbekistan (for migrants). HCV prevalence also had a wide range: PWID 0.3-92.1%, MSM 0-18.9%, prisoners 23.8-49.7%, FSW 3.3-17.8%, and migrants 0.5-26.5%, with the highest prevalence reported in Georgia (92.1%), Kyrgyzstan (49.7%), and migrants from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan (26.5%). Similarly, HBV prevalence had a wide range: PWID 2.8-79.7%, MSM 0-22.2%, prisoners 2.7-6.2%, FSW 18.4% (one study), and migrants 0.3-15.7%. CONCLUSION: In Central Asia and the Caucasus, prevalence of HIV, HCV and HBV remains exceedingly high among selected populations, notably PWID and MSM.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections/epidemiology , Hepatitis B/epidemiology , Hepatitis C/epidemiology , Asia, Central/epidemiology , Female , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male , Prevalence , Prisoners , Risk Factors , Russia/epidemiology , Sex Workers , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Substance-Related Disorders/complications , Transcaucasia/epidemiology
10.
Glob Public Health ; 16(11): 1681-1695, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434300

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on HIV services globally, including community-based outreach programmes. This article draws on a qualitative study of HIV outreach workers for men who have sex with men (MSM) in Jakarta, Indonesia undertaken between July and September 2020. The research documented the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV outreach programmes for MSM based on interviews, focus group discussions and video diaries collected from outreach workers. As a result of the pandemic, and in response to the guidelines issued by international donors and the Indonesian government, outreach workers shifted activities to 'virtual outreach' where possible. However, outreach workers consistently performed in-person work to address what they referred to as 'urgent' cases (e.g. required them to attend the clinic). Regardless of delivery mode, the steps comprising outreach work during the pandemic aligned with the 'cascade of care', which forms the dominant policy narrative for the management of HIV. Outreach work during the pandemic therefore continued to be based primarily on the objective of maintaining testing and treatment rates. Although outreach workers responded innovatively to the pandemic, including to the risk of COVID-19 infection, they were limited by the prevailing emphasis on targets in HIV programmes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sex Workers , Sexual and Gender Minorities , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Indonesia/epidemiology , Male , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
11.
AIDS ; 35(11): 1871-1872, 2021 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1358525

ABSTRACT

Female sex workers' livelihoods in Zimbabwe have been severely impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic due to closure of entertainment venues. Competition over fewer clients has reduced ability to negotiate condom use. At the same time as partner numbers have decreased, frequency of reported condomless sex has not increased, suggesting potential reduction in overall HIV and sexually transmitted infection risk and an opportunity for programmes to reach sex workers with holistic social and economic support and prevention services.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sex Workers , Sexually Transmitted Diseases , Condoms , Female , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
12.
Front Public Health ; 9: 653565, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1346426

ABSTRACT

Background: The ATLAS program promotes and implements HIVST in Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, and Senegal. Priority groups include members of key populations-female sex workers (FSW), men having sex with men (MSM), and people who use drugs (PWUD)-and their partners and relatives. HIVST distribution activities, which began in mid-2019, were impacted in early 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: This article, focusing only on outreach activities among key populations, analyzes quantitative, and qualitative program data collected during implementation to examine temporal trends in HIVST distribution and their evolution in the context of the COVID-19 health crisis. Specifically, we investigated the impact on, the adaptation of and the disruption of field activities. Results: In all three countries, the pre-COVID-19 period was marked by a gradual increase in HIVST distribution. The period corresponding to the initial emergency response (March-May 2020) witnessed an important disruption of activities: a total suspension in Senegal, a significant decline in Côte d'Ivoire, and a less pronounced decrease in Mali. Secondary distribution was also negatively impacted. Peer educators showed resilience and adapted by relocating from public to private areas, reducing group sizes, moving night activities to the daytime, increasing the use of social networks, integrating hygiene measures, and promoting assisted HIVST as an alternative to conventional rapid testing. From June 2020 onward, with the routine management of the COVID-19 pandemic, a catch-up phenomenon was observed with the resumption of activities in Senegal, the opening of new distribution sites, a rebound in the number of distributed HIVST kits, a resurgence in larger group activities, and a rebound in the average number of distributed HIVST kits per primary contact. Conclusions: Although imperfect, the program data provide useful information to describe changes in the implementation of HIVST outreach activities over time. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIVST distribution among key populations was visible in the monthly activity reports. Focus groups and individual interviews allowed us to document the adaptations made by peer educators, with variations across countries and populations. These adaptations demonstrate the resilience and learning capacities of peer educators and key populations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sex Workers , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Cote d'Ivoire/epidemiology , Female , HIV Infections/diagnosis , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male , Mali/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Self-Testing , Senegal/epidemiology
13.
Rev. baiana enferm ; 35: e37327, 2021.
Article in Portuguese | WHO COVID, LILACS (Americas) | ID: covidwho-1328347

ABSTRACT

Objetivo refletir sobre as situações de vulnerabilidades em saúde vivenciadas por trabalhadoras sexuais durante a pandemia decorrente da infecção pelo SARS-CoV-2. Método trata-se de estudo reflexivo, fundamentado no referencial teórico conceitual da vulnerabilidade em quatro dimensões: ontológica, epidemiológica, simbólica e político-programática. Resultado a saúde das profissionais do sexo, na experiência cotidiana do trabalho sexual, tem sido um desafio para os governos entre todos os grupos associados a estigmas e populações vulneráveis, justamente por serem marginalizados socialmente. Isso se configura como importante para a compreensão desse fenômeno em meio à crise financeira, econômica e de saúde que pessoas de diferentes nações sofrem diante do progresso da SARS-CoV-2. Conclusão as situações de vulnerabilidade em saúde decorrente da infecção pelo SARS-CoV-2 que expõem as profissionais do sexo são consolidadas, principalmente, pela ausência do Estado na proteção sócio legal e na garantia dos direitos humanos, para que essas mulheres adquiram condições de enfrentamento e prevenção.


Objetivo reflexionar sobre las situaciones de vulnerabilidades en salud experimentadas por las trabajadoras sexuales durante la pandemia resultante de la infección por SARS-CoV-2. Método se trata de un estudio reflexivo, basado en el marco teórico conceptual de vulnerabilidad en cuatro dimensiones: ontológica, epidemiológica, simbólica y política-programática. Resultado la salud de las trabajadoras sexuales, en la experiencia diaria del trabajo sexual, ha sido un desafío para los gobiernos entre todos los grupos asociados con estigmas y poblaciones vulnerables, precisamente porque están socialmente marginadas. Esto es importante para entender este fenómeno en medio de la crisis financiera, económica y de salud que sufren personas de diferentes naciones ante el progreso del SARS-CoV-2. Conclusión las situaciones de vulnerabilidad a la salud resultantes de la infección por SARS-CoV-2 a que exponen las trabajadoras sexuales se consolidan, principalmente, por la ausencia del Estado en la protección social-jurídica y en la garantía de los derechos humanos, para que estas mujeres adquieran condiciones de enfrentamiento y prevención.


Objective to reflect on the situations of health vulnerabilities experienced by sex workers during the pandemic resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Method this is a reflective study, based on the conceptual theoretical framework of vulnerability in four dimensions: ontological, epidemiological, symbolic and political-programmatic. Result the health of sex workers, in the daily experience of sexual work, has been a challenge for governments among all groups associated with stigmas and vulnerable populations, precisely because they are socially marginalized. This is important for understanding this phenomenon in the midst of the financial, economic and health crisis that people from different nations suffer before the progress of SARS-CoV-2. Conclusion the situations of health vulnerability resulting from the SARS-CoV-2 infection that expose sex workers are consolidated, mainly, by the absence of the State in the social-legal protection and in the guarantee of human rights, so that these women acquire conditions of coping and prevention.


Subject(s)
Humans , Coronavirus Infections , Health Vulnerability , Sex Workers , Pandemics
14.
J Prim Care Community Health ; 12: 21501327211031760, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1301829

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health preventive measures such as lockdown and home confinement have posed unique challenges to female sex workers (FSW) globally, including in Canada where the sex trade is not formally recognized. In this commentary, we discuss the unintended consequences the pandemic has had on various social determinants of health among FSW. We draw on a review of scholarly and grey literature, complemented by our experience with the Exit Doors Here program, a sex work exiting program implemented in Toronto, Canada. Due to COVID-19, many FSW suddenly lost their main source of income, work conditions became riskier, and sheltering-in-place presented challenges for women with no safe housing. The slowdown of social and health care services also meant FSW were not receiving the required attention. We make recommendations for intersectoral mitigation strategies to limit the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on FSW health and livelihoods. Recommendations focus on addressing women's marginalizing circumstances and speak to a gender transformative approach to the COVID-19 recovery. Our recommendations are relevant to FSW and other marginalized groups, in the current context and in the context of future health, social, and economic crises.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Sex Workers , Canada/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Female , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
15.
Arch Sex Behav ; 50(5): 2017-2029, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1287445

ABSTRACT

We evaluated the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the sex work industry and assessed how it has impacted the health and social conditions of sex workers in Singapore. We conducted a sequential exploratory mixed methods study amidst the COVID-19 pandemic from April to October 2020, including in-depth interviews with 24 stakeholders from the sex work industry and surveyor-administered structured surveys with 171 sex workers. COVID-19 had a substantial impact on sex workers' income. The illegality of sex work, stigma, and the lack of work documentation were cited as exclusionary factors for access to alternative jobs or government relief. Sex workers had experienced an increase in food insecurity (57.3%), housing insecurity (32.8%), and sexual compromise (8.2%), as well as a decrease in access to medical services (16.4%). Being transgender female was positively associated with increased food insecurity (aPR = 1.23, 95% CI [1.08, 1.41]), housing insecurity (aPR = 1.28, 95% CI [1.03, 1.60]), and decreased access to medical services (aPR = 1.74, 95% CI [1.23, 2.46]); being a venue-based sex worker was positively associated with increased food insecurity (aPR = 1.46, 95% CI [1.00, 2.13]), and being a non-Singaporean citizen or permanent resident was positively associated with increased housing insecurity (aPR = 2.59, 95% CI [1.73, 3.85]). Our findings suggest that COVID-19 has led to a loss of income for sex workers, greater food and housing insecurity, increased sexual compromise, and reduced access to medical services for sex workers. A lack of access to government relief among sex workers exacerbated such conditions. Efforts to address such population health inequities should be implemented.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Pandemics , Sex Workers/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore/epidemiology
16.
J Int AIDS Soc ; 24 Suppl 3: e25716, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1287370

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Despite extraordinary progress in HIV treatment coverage and expanding access to HIV prevention services and that multiple African countries are on track in their efforts to reach 90-90-90 goals, the epidemic continues to persist, with prevalence and incidence rates too high in some parts of the continent to achieve epidemic control. While data sources are improving, and research studies on key populations in specific contexts have improved, work on understanding the HIV burdens and barriers to services for these populations remains sparse, uneven and absent altogether in multiple settings. More data have become available in the last several years, and data published in 2010 or more recently are reviewed here for each key population. This scoping review assesses the current epidemiology of HIV among key populations in Africa and the social and political environments that contribute to the epidemic, both of which suggest that without significant policy reform, these epidemics will likely continue. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Across Africa, the HIV epidemic is most severe among key populations including women and men who sell or trade sex, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, transgender women who have sex with men and prisoners and detainees. These groups account for the majority of new infections in West and Central Africa, and an estimated 25% of new infections in East and Southern Africa, despite representing relatively small proportions of those populations. The HIV literature in Africa emphasizes that despite significant health needs, key populations experience barriers to accessing services within the healthcare and legal justice systems. Current shortcomings of surveillance systems in enumerating key populations impact the way funding mechanisms and resources are allocated and distributed. Adapting more equitable and epidemiologically sound frameworks will be necessary for current and future HIV programming investments. CONCLUSIONS: Through this review, the available literature on HIV epidemiology among key populations in Africa brings to light a number of surveillance, programmatic and research gaps. For many communities, interventions targeting the health and security conditions continue to be minimal. Compelling evidence suggests that sweeping policy and programmatic changes are needed to effectively tackle the persistent HIV epidemic in Africa.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections , Sex Workers , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Africa, Southern/epidemiology , Female , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male
17.
Health Care Women Int ; 41(11-12): 1398-1409, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1263585

ABSTRACT

The author examined experiences of Commercial Sex Workers (CSWs) in Accra, Kumasi and Kasoa metropolises following Ghana's imposition restrictive ACT since 21 March 2020. Three trained male field assistants posing as mystery clients, purposively selected and interviewed 35 CSWs using a combination of face-to-face and telephone interviews with consenting CSWs in the study area. Findings show declined activity and patronage of CSWs due to fear of contracting COVID-19. With no savings or other reliable sources of income, some CSWs have however devised various strategies to work safely and implored the government to support them financially during this crisis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Sex Workers/psychology , Adolescent , Adult , Communicable Disease Control , Female , Ghana , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Sex Work , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
18.
Front Public Health ; 9: 653612, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264394

ABSTRACT

Despite significant progress on the proportion of individuals who know their HIV status in 2020, Côte d'Ivoire (76%), Senegal (78%), and Mali (48%) remain far below, and key populations (KP) including female sex workers (FSW), men who have sex with men (MSM), and people who use drugs (PWUD) are the most vulnerable groups with a HIV prevalence at 5-30%. HIV self-testing (HIVST), a process where a person collects his/her own specimen, performs a test, and interprets the result, was introduced in 2019 as a new testing modality through the ATLAS project coordinated by the international partner organisation Solthis (IPO). We estimate the costs of implementing HIVST through 23 civil society organisations (CSO)-led models for KP in Côte d'Ivoire (N = 7), Senegal (N = 11), and Mali (N = 5). We modelled costs for programme transition (2021) and early scale-up (2022-2023). Between July 2019 and September 2020, a total of 51,028, 14,472, and 34,353 HIVST kits were distributed in Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, and Mali, respectively. Across countries, 64-80% of HIVST kits were distributed to FSW, 20-31% to MSM, and 5-8% to PWUD. Average costs per HIVST kit distributed were $15 for FSW (Côte d'Ivoire: $13, Senegal: $17, Mali: $16), $23 for MSM (Côte d'Ivoire: $15, Senegal: $27, Mali: $28), and $80 for PWUD (Côte d'Ivoire: $16, Senegal: $144), driven by personnel costs (47-78% of total costs), and HIVST kits costs (2-20%). Average costs at scale-up were $11 for FSW (Côte d'Ivoire: $9, Senegal: $13, Mali: $10), $16 for MSM (Côte d'Ivoire: $9, Senegal: $23, Mali: $17), and $32 for PWUD (Côte d'Ivoire: $14, Senegal: $50). Cost reductions were mainly explained by the spreading of IPO costs over higher HIVST distribution volumes and progressive IPO withdrawal at scale-up. In all countries, CSO-led HIVST kit provision to KP showed relatively high costs during the study period related to the progressive integration of the programme to CSO activities and contextual challenges (COVID-19 pandemic, country safety concerns). In transition to scale-up and integration of the HIVST programme into CSO activities, this model shows large potential for substantial economies of scale. Further research will assess the overall cost-effectiveness of this model.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sex Workers , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Cote d'Ivoire/epidemiology , Female , HIV Infections/diagnosis , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male , Mali/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Self-Testing , Senegal
19.
AIDS ; 35(11): 1871-1872, 2021 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1223414

ABSTRACT

Female sex workers' livelihoods in Zimbabwe have been severely impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic due to closure of entertainment venues. Competition over fewer clients has reduced ability to negotiate condom use. At the same time as partner numbers have decreased, frequency of reported condomless sex has not increased, suggesting potential reduction in overall HIV and sexually transmitted infection risk and an opportunity for programmes to reach sex workers with holistic social and economic support and prevention services.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sex Workers , Sexually Transmitted Diseases , Condoms , Female , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
20.
J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr ; 87(3): 899-911, 2021 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1169727

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic indirectly impacts HIV epidemiology in Central/West Africa. We estimated the potential impact of COVID-19-related disruptions to HIV prevention/treatment services and sexual partnerships on HIV incidence and HIV-related deaths among key populations including female sex workers (FSW), their clients, men who have sex with men, and overall. SETTING: Yaoundé (Cameroon) and Cotonou (Benin). METHODS: We used mathematical models of HIV calibrated to city population-specific and risk population-specific demographic/behavioral/epidemic data. We estimated the relative change in 1-year HIV incidence and HIV-related deaths for various disruption scenarios of HIV prevention/treatment services and decreased casual/commercial partnerships, compared with a scenario without COVID-19. RESULTS: A 50% reduction in condom use in all partnerships over 6 months would increase 1-year HIV incidence by 39%, 42%, 31%, and 23% among men who have sex with men, FSW, clients, and overall in Yaoundé, respectively, and 69%, 49%, and 23% among FSW, clients, and overall, respectively, in Cotonou. Combining a 6-month interruption of ART initiation and 50% reduction in HIV prevention/treatment use would increase HIV incidence by 50% and HIV-related deaths by 20%. This increase in HIV infections would be halved by a simultaneous 50% reduction in casual and commercial partnerships. CONCLUSIONS: Reductions in condom use after COVID-19 would increase infections among key populations disproportionately, particularly FSW in Cotonou, who need uninterrupted condom provision. Disruptions in HIV prevention/treatment services have the biggest impacts on HIV infections and deaths overall, only partially mitigated by equal reductions in casual/commercial sexual partnerships. Maintaining ART provision must be prioritized to minimize short-term excess HIV-related deaths.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , HIV Infections/complications , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV-1 , SARS-CoV-2 , Benin/epidemiology , Cameroon/epidemiology , Condoms , Female , Humans , Male , Models, Biological , Risk Factors , Safe Sex , Sex Workers , Urban Population
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