13 October 2010
By Linah Baliga
But, Only With Paying Partners: Report
There’s a marked change in the attitude and behaviourial patterns of female sex workers in Maharashtra towards condoms. They now insist on consistent use of condoms to prevent HIV transmission.
This positive finding was highlighted in a recently published report, ‘Behaviourial Surveillance Survey – 2009’, by Avert Society under the guidance of Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society (MSACS) and Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS).
In Maharashtra, Condom use amongst brothelbased female sex workers (BB FSW) is as high as 98% in the case of paying clients. With non–paying partners, though, its use falls drastically to 54%. This difference shows up that faith in a partner–usually a spouse or a boyfriend–determines Condom use amongst the surveyed sex workers.
"This BSS report indicates that there is a definite change in the attitude of high risk groups (HRG) in safe sex practices, as far as the use of male and female condoms is concerned. But, the most important finding is that female sex workers do not use condoms with their trusted or regular partners. That’s because they believe that their trusted or regular partners don’t engage in sexual relations with any other partner. This is a wrong notion," warned Dr S Kudalkar, project director, Mumbai District AIDS Control Society.
Kudalkar told TOI that MDACS will conduct an active campaign for female sex workers with cartoon films to stress upon the fact that condoms should be used without fail with regular and trusted partners as well.
In contrast, approximately 91% of non–brothel based female sex workers (NBB FSWs) reported consistent Condom use with regular paying clients, while 94.5% used condoms consistently with occasional paying clients.
Of those women who used protection, 68.2% used free condoms, 20.2% used branded condoms while only 5.7% reported using socially marketed condoms.
- More than 90% of sex workers know about HIV transmission and prevention
- Knowledge about transmission from mother to child, though, is low
- Consistent Condom use topped 94%–except with non–paying partners
- Only 50% of sex workers have heard about sexually transmitted infections
- The awareness level is high in Pune and Konkan divisions