Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Intervention effort cuts HIV incidence among female sex workers

Date:
July 30, 2010
Source:
University of California - San Diego
Summary:
Researchers have found that even a modest behavioral intervention program averaging just 35 minutes can measurably reduce the incidence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among female sex workers in the US-Mexico border region -- and that the program succeeds at comparatively little expense.

A team of researchers from the University of California San Diego and Mexico has found that even a modest behavioral intervention program averaging just 35 minutes can measurably reduce the incidence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among female sex workers in the U.S.-Mexico border region -- and that the program succeeds at comparatively little expense.

The findings will be published online by the journal PLoS ONE on June 30.

"These are important findings," said Thomas Patterson, PhD, professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine at UC San Diego. "Too often good research sits on a shelf, unimplemented, because it's thought not to be cost-effective. This study shows that a relatively inexpensive intervention program can significantly affect the incidence of HIV and STIs in a high-risk population."

Using a sophisticated modeling system, researchers studied how a hypothetical group of 1,000 female sex workers in the U.S.-Mexico border region would respond to a previously tested behavioral intervention program called Mujer Segura or Healthy Woman. Approximately 35 minutes in length, Mujer Segura employs motivational techniques to encourage female sex workers to use safer sex practices, and teaches better condom negotiation skills with clients who request unprotected sex.

"You can't just dwell on the negative. You need to provide positive motivation," said Patterson. "For many of these women, the reason they are sex workers is to make enough money to feed their children. So you don't just point out that HIV kills, but also that taking precautions to avoid HIV infection means they will live longer and be able to take care of their children."

Earlier research had shown that Mujer Segura was effective in a study of 600 female sex workers in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, but questions lingered about comparative affordability. The financial burden of the worldwide HIV epidemic is huge: More than $10 billion annually. In Mexico alone, HIV-related costs exceed $270 million each year, 88 percent of which goes to antiretroviral treatments for patients with active diseases. Could a program like Mujer Segura reduce overall HIV costs by preventing infections in the first place?

Researchers modeled the effect of 1,000 female sex workers receiving Mujer Segura intervention training once, annually and not at all. They found that among sex workers who received once-only interventions, an estimated 33 HIV cases were prevented and 5.7 months of quality-adjusted life expectancy or QALE added, compared to sex workers who received no intervention. For sex workers who received annual interventions, there were 29 additional HIV cases prevented and 4.5 more months of QALE.

"The expense per intervention is less than $200, which makes it very cost-effective, especially when considering the costs of actually treating HIV cases," said Jose L. Burgos, MD, a project scientist in the division of global public health, department of medicine, at UC San Diego, a faculty member of the medical schools of the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California and the University of Xochiacalco in Tijuana, Mexico. Burgos was also the leader of the study.

The program's value is heightened by its target audience, said Carlos Magis Rodriguez, director of research for Centro para la Prevenciσn y el Control del VIH/SIDA (CENSIDA), the arm of the Mexican Ministry of Health that focuses upon HIV-AIDS issues.

Until relatively recently, HIV was presumed to almost exclusively impact Mexican men having sex with other men. But that is no longer the case. The proportion of female AIDS cases has increased steadily over the years, from 3 percent in 1987 to more than 27 percent in 2008. An estimated 57,000 Mexican women are affected.

The rise in the prevalence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is particularly notable among female sex workers. For example, a 1997 study estimated HIV prevalence among female sex workers in Mexico City at 0.6 percent. In 2006, however the Mujer Segura study of female sex workers in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez found a prevalence of 6 percent, and 12 percent among those who injected drugs.

"There are factors that make the border region especially problematic," said Patterson. "It's a catchment area for immigrants preparing to cross. It's a place with major drug trafficking routes. This combination of people, sex and drugs really helps fuel the HIV epidemic."

Programs aimed at reducing HIV and STIs among female sex workers are crucial, said Rodriguez at CENSIDA, because they help reduce disease transmission between high-risk groups and the general population in areas with concentrated epidemics. Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, where UC San Diego researchers have long focused their studies, are obvious target areas because commercial sex work there is quasi-legal and thriving.

But Patterson said intervention programs like Mujer Segura should not be limited to the U.S.-Mexico border. The approach, if altered to reflect differing cultures, histories and geographical conditions, could work well elsewhere in the world. Indeed, Patterson and colleagues were just funded by the National Institutes of Health to scale up the Mujer Segura intervention across Mexico.

Co-authors of the paper were Julia A. Gaebler, PhD, an assistant adjunct professor in the division of global public health, department of medicine at UC San Diego; Steffanie A. Strathdee, PhD, associate dean of global health sciences, Harold Simon professor and chief of the division of global public health in UCSD's department of medicine; Remedios Lozada, MD, of the State Public Health Service, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico and Hugo Staines, MD, faculty of medicine, Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez, Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - San Diego. "Intervention effort cuts HIV incidence among female sex workers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100730191612.htm>.
University of California - San Diego. (2010, July 30). Intervention effort cuts HIV incidence among female sex workers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100730191612.htm
University of California - San Diego. "Intervention effort cuts HIV incidence among female sex workers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100730191612.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins