Key resources on female sex workers

The links between sex work 
and HIV vulnerability have long been 
recognized. Research shows that sex workers and their clients are at a heightened risk of HIV and face a range of particular barriers to accessing prevention, care and treatment. However, the UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work states that until recently, less than 1% of global funding for HIV prevention was allocated to HIV and sex work.

STRIVE research, particularly in India, focuses on a range of structural drivers that are relevant to female sex workers (FSW) as a key population in efforts to prevent HIV. This includes factors such as:

  • Gender
  • Stigma
  • Criminalisation
  • Livelihoods
  • Violence

STRIVE Projects and Publications

Sex worker CBOs 

Community-based organisations of sex-workers are proving an effective forum for empowerment and HIV prevention in North Karnataka, India.

Community mobilisation and empowerment of female sex workers is significantly associated with reduced HIV/STI risk

What is the impact of community mobilisation as a central component of targeted HIV prevention programmes in India?

Understanding risk for HIV/STI transmission and acquisition within non-paying partnerships of FSWs in Southern India

Known informally as the Lovers Study, this pilot investigates HIV risk within the complex relationships between female sex workers (FSW) and their non-paying partners.

Recommended Resources

Burden of HIV among female sex workers in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Review of HIV risk amongst FSW compared with that of other women of reproductive age.

UNAIDS guidance note on HIV and sex work

A human-rights-based approach to promoting universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in the context of adult sex work.

Evaluation of community mobilization and empowerment: HIV prevention among female sex workers in India

Report by STRIVE member KHPT explores the power dynamics involved in community mobilization among FSW in Karnataka state, South India.

Vulnerability re-assessed: The changing face of sex work in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh

Findings show that structural and environmental factors change the way sex work is practiced. 

An integrated structural intervention to reduce vulnerability to HIV and sexually transmitted infections among female sex workers

A review of structural interventions integrated into an HIV prevention programme for over 60,000 female sex workers (FSWs) in south India. 

Personal, interpersonal and structural challenges to accessing HIV testing, treatment and care services among female sex workers, men who have sex with men and transgenders in Karnataka state, south India

What barriers prevent utilisation of HIV testing, treatment and care services among most-at-risk groups in Karnataka?

Intimate partner violence is as important as client violence in increasing street-based female sex workers’ vulnerability to HIV in India

Harm reduction efforts with female sex workers need to account for their vulnerability to HIV not only from clients, but also from intimate partners.

Universal access for women and girls: Accelerating access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for FSWs and wives of migrant men

ICRW-ARO use a gender lens to understand barriers to access.

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