The Influence of Stigma and Discrimination on Female Sex Workers’ Access to HIV Services in St. Petersburg, Russia
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Stigma associated with HIV and risk behaviors is known to be a barrier to health care access for many populations. Less is known about female sex workers (FSW) in Russia, a population that is especially vulnerable to HIV-infection, and yet hard-to-reach for service providers. We administered a questionnaire to 139 FSW to better understand how stigma and discrimination influence HIV service utilization. Logistic regression analysis indicated that HIV-related stigma is negatively associated with uptake of HIV testing, while sex work-related stigma is positively associated with HIV testing. HIV-positive FSW are more likely than HIV-negative FSW to experience discrimination in health care settings. While decreasing societal stigma should be a long-term goal, programs that foster inclusion of marginalized populations in Russian health care settings are urgently needed.
KeywordsFemale sex workers HIV testing Stigma and discrimination Russia
This research was funded by Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Award, a Travel Award from The Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Royster’s Society of Fellows Doctoral Dissertation Completion Fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Postdoctoral Training Grant at Yale University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (T32MH020031) from the National Institute of Mental Health. The content of the manuscript is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of the funding agencies.
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