Caracterizing the male sexual worker without gay identity and his vulnerability factors related to HIV

Published: August 1, 2008

Caracterizing the male sexual worker without gay identity and his vulnerability factors related to HIV

Background: Most of the social and epidemiological is oriented toward gay and transgender population. Male sex workers with no gay identity have not been, as of today, a case of study in Paraguay. This research is intended to describe the male sex worker from Asuncion city, by analyzing their interactions with other higher-risk HIV exposure groups (transgender, gay men and women) and identify vulnerability factors related to HIV.
Methods: Descriptive study with quality method research through focus groups and participating observation. The sample was composed by 36 male sex workers through key informers and snow ball.

Results: The MSWs do not assume any kind of identity other than the traditional one, In other words the masculine stereotype, nor they assume that sexual service is a job. They do not think of themselves as different from the general heterosexual groups and therefore they find it relative their high risk to HIV. MSW are themselves an epidemiologic transmission factor. On one hand, most of the time, they have occasional sexual contact and they keep stable couple relationships with women (who are not aware of their male sex worker status) on the other hand, they have commercial sexual contact with women. On another note MSW have a large number of male clients. Some MSW also state to have occasional and stable sexual relationships with transgenders.

Conclusions: Due to the fact that MSW do not identify themselves to any social group (gay) or epidemiologic (MSM) they remain overlooked before the prevention strategies. This lack of perception of belonging to a specific community makes it difficult to execute actions of empowerment, weakening their representation and advocacy in public policies-making process intended to take in account their needs. Therefore, promoting new research about this group, will result in the generation of more efficient prevention strategies.

-Abstract available at link below-

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