Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 1035–1046 | Cite as

Development and Open Pilot Trial of an HIV-Prevention Intervention Integrating Mobile-Phone Technology for Male Sex Workers in Chennai, India

  • Beena Thomas
  • Elizabeth F. Closson
  • Katie Biello
  • Sunil Menon
  • Pandiaraja Navakodi
  • A. Dhanalakshmi
  • Kenneth H. Mayer
  • Steven A. Safren
  • Matthew J. Mimiaga
Original Paper

Abstract

In India men who have sex with men and engage in sex work (i.e., male sex workers; MSW) have a high risk of transmitting HIV. Globally, sex workers have become more spatially mobile due to advances in mobile-phone technology. In 2012 in-depth qualitative feedback was garnered from 40 interviews with MSW and four focus groups with 35 key informants (KIs) who had expert knowledge of the local MSW community to inform the design of an HIV-prevention intervention among MSW in Chennai, India. All MSW were recruited during outreach by employees of a Chennai-based organization for MSM (men who have sex with men). The data were analyzed using a descriptive qualitative approach. MSW and KIs discussed the need for intervention content that went beyond basic HIV psychoeducation. They emphasized the importance of addressing psychological distress, alcohol-related risk, and sexual communication skills. Concerns were raised about confidentiality, privacy, and scheduling. Participants endorsed a combination of in-person and mobile-phone-delivered sessions as well as the integration of mobile-phone messaging. These findings served as the basis for the development of a theoretically driven, manual-based intervention incorporating mobile phones. An open pilot assessed the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention with eight MSW. Assessments and HIV testing were administered at baseline, 3, and 6 months post-baseline. Exit interviews were conducted at the conclusion of the intervention. Retention for session attendance and assessment follow-up was 100 %. There was a high level of acceptability for the format, structure, and content. These data show initial promise, feasibility, and acceptability of the intervention.

Keywords

Sex work India MSM HIV Sexual risk 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The current project was supported by the Indo-U.S. Joint Working Group on Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS through the U.S. National Institute of Drug Abuse Grant #R21DA033720 (Matthew Mimiaga, PI) and the Indian Council of Medical Research Grant #Indo-U.S/72/9/2010-ECDII (Beena Thomas, PI).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beena Thomas
    • 1
  • Elizabeth F. Closson
    • 2
    • 3
  • Katie Biello
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  • Sunil Menon
    • 6
  • Pandiaraja Navakodi
    • 1
  • A. Dhanalakshmi
    • 1
  • Kenneth H. Mayer
    • 2
    • 7
    • 8
  • Steven A. Safren
    • 2
    • 9
  • Matthew J. Mimiaga
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.National Institute for Research in TuberculosisChennaiIndia
  2. 2.The Fenway InstituteFenway HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.London School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK
  4. 4.Departments of Epidemiology and Behavioral & Social Health SciencesBrown University School of Public HealthProvidenceUSA
  5. 5.Institute for Community Health PromotionBrown University School of Public HealthProvidenceUSA
  6. 6.SahodaranChennaiIndia
  7. 7.Division of Infectious DiseasesHarvard Medical School/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA
  8. 8.Department of Global Health and PopulationHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  9. 9.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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