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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 75  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 41--46

Male sex workers: Are we ignoring a risk group in Mumbai, India?


1 Department of Dermatology, LTM Medical College, Mumbai; The Humsafar Trust, Mumbai, India
2 McGill University, Montreal, Canada
3 The Humsafar Trust, Mumbai, India
4 Department of Dermatology, LTM Medical College, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
Hemangi Jerajani
Department of Dermatology, LTMM College and LTMG Hospital, Sion, Mumbai - 400 022, India

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0378-6323.45219

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Background: Male sex workers (MSWs) have recently been recognized as an important risk group for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Although there are global studies on MSWs, few such studies describe the behavioral patterns and STIs among this population in India. Methods: MSWs were evaluated at the Humsafar trust, a community based organization situated in suburban Mumbai, India. We report on the demographics, sexual behaviors, and STIs including HIV of these sex workers. Results: Of the 75 MSWs, 24 were men and 51 were transgenders. The mean age of the group was 23.3 (+ 4.9) years. About 15% were married or lived with a permanent partner. Of these individuals, 85% reported sex work as a main source of income and 15% as an additional source. All the individuals reported anal sex (87% anal receptive sex and 13% anal insertive sex). About 13% of MSWs had never used a condom. The HIV prevalence was 33% (17% in men vs 41% in transgenders, P = 0.04). The STI prevalence was 60% (58% in men vs 61% in transgenders, P = 0.8). Syphilis was the most common STI (28%) in these MSWs. HIV was associated with being a transgender (41 vs 17%, P = 0.04), age > 26 years (57 vs 28%, P = 0.04), more than one year of sex work (38 vs 8%, P = 0.05), and income < Rs. 2000 per month (62 vs 27%, P = 0.02). Conclusions: The MSWs have high-risk behaviors, low consistent condom use, and high STI/HIV infections. These groups should be the focus of intensive public health interventions aimed at reduction of risky sexual practices, and STI/HIV prevention and care.






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