, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 163-171

High Prevalence of Forced Sex Among Non-Brothel Based, Wine Shop Centered Sex Workers in Chennai, India

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Abstract

Sexual violence has been shown to increase women’s risk of HIV infection. India is a country where the HIV epidemic is growing among women and intimate partner violence (IPV) is pervasive. This study examined prevalence of and factors associated with forced sex among female sex workers (FSWs) in Chennai, India. We conducted a probability survey among FSWs in 24 slum venues and identified predictive factors for recent forced sex using univariate and multivariable proportional odds models. Among 522 FSWs, 28% reported having forced sex with one partner and 35% with 2+ partners. In the final multivariable model, women who had a high number of partners who had a strong tendency to drink alcohol before sex were more likely to have experienced forced sex, and women who had both unprotected sex with a nonspousal partner and >20 days of alcohol consumption in the last 30 days were more likely to have experienced forced sex. Discussion about family violence with larger social networks was independently associated with lower odds of forced sex among FSWs. HIV interventions for FSWs and their clients aimed at reducing alcohol consumption and encouraging condom use could be enhanced by violence prevention interventions to facilitate discourse about sexual violence.