AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 585–597 | Cite as

Characteristics of Female Sex Workers in Southern India Willing and Unwilling to Participate in a Placebo Gel Trial

  • Barbara S. MenschEmail author
  • Barbara A. Friedland
  • Sharon A. Abbott
  • Lauren L. Katzen
  • Waimar Tun
  • Christine A. Kelly
  • Avina Sarna
  • Aylur K. Srikrishnan
  • Suniti Solomon
Original Paper


Respondent-driven sampling was used to recruit female sex workers (FSWs) for a community survey conducted in southern India. After survey completion, participants were given a brochure describing a clinical trial that entailed daily use of a placebo vaginal gel for four months. This study assessed predictors of screening among survey respondents, predictors of enrollment among those eligible for the trial, and predictors of visit attendance and retention among those enrolled. FSWs who reported having symptoms of sexually transmitted infections (STI), engaging in sex work in the past month, and living in a subdistrict easily accessible by public transportation with a high concentration of FSWs, were more likely to screen. FSWs who had never been tested for HIV were more likely to enroll. This analysis suggests that the primary reason FSWs participated in the trial was a desire for health care—not other factors hypothesized to be important, e.g., HIV risk perception and poverty status.


Microbicides Willingness to participate Female sex workers Southern India 



Funding for this research was provided by the Office of Population and Reproductive Health, Bureau for Global Health, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Award Number GPO-A-00-04-00019; by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Grant No. R21-HD060270; and by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Award No. Indo-US/54/2007-ECD II. The contents of this manuscript are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, NICHD or ICMR.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara S. Mensch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Barbara A. Friedland
    • 1
  • Sharon A. Abbott
    • 1
  • Lauren L. Katzen
    • 1
  • Waimar Tun
    • 2
  • Christine A. Kelly
    • 1
  • Avina Sarna
    • 3
  • Aylur K. Srikrishnan
    • 4
  • Suniti Solomon
    • 4
  1. 1.Population CouncilNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Population CouncilWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Population CouncilNew DelhiIndia
  4. 4.Y.R. Gaitonde Center for AIDS Research and Care (YRG CARE)ChennaiIndia

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