Article by Ghose T, Swendeman DT, George SM. Qual Health Res. 2011 Jan 25.
High rates of empowerment, HIV-related knowledge, and condom use among sex workers in Sonagachi, India have been attributed to a community-led intervention called the Sonagachi HIV/AIDS Intervention Programme (SHIP). In this research Ghose and colleagues examined the crucial role of brothels in the success of the intervention. In-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted with 55 participants of SHIP. The results indicate that brothels help sex workers reduce HIV risk by (a) serving as targeted sites for SHIP’s HIV intervention efforts, (b) being operated by madams (women managers of brothels) who participate in SHIP’s intervention efforts and promote healthy regimes, (c) structuring the economic transactions and sexual performances related to sex work, thus standardizing sex-related behaviour, and (d) promoting community empowerment among brothel residents. Implications of these results are discussed for future efforts to replicate SHIP’s success in other sex work communities.
(abstract authors’ own)