Exploring “Wine Shops” as a Venue for HIV Prevention Interventions in Urban India
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- Sivaram, S., Johnson, S., Bentley, M.E. et al. J Urban Health (2007) 84: 563. doi:10.1007/s11524-007-9196-0
Addressing male heterosexual risk is a high priority for HIV prevention efforts in India. Particularly in urban India, which draws men for employment opportunities, these efforts are gaining momentum with a focus on understanding possible risk facilitators such as alcohol use. However, little is known about venues where such efforts might be targeted. In this paper, we explore community-based alcohol outlets or “wine shops” in Chennai, India, as potential venues. We conducted ethnographic research with wine shop staff and clients to understand alcohol use and sexual behaviors. We then surveyed 118 wine shop patrons to quantify these risk behaviors and plan an appropriate intervention. Our results show that wine shops are a venue where social and sexual networks converge. Reports and observations of regular and heavy drinking were frequent. Over 50% of patrons surveyed reported three or more sexual partners in the past 3 months, and 71% of all patrons reported a history of exchanging sex for money. Condom use history was low overall but, in the adjusted analyses, was significantly higher (OR = 20.1) among those who reported that their most recent partner was a sex worker and lower (OR = 0.28) among those who reported they drank to feel disinhibited. The data suggest that wine shops may be an appropriate location to target men for HIV prevention interventions. We discuss how these findings helped design such an intervention in Chennai.