Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sex with Sex Workers among Latino Day Laborers in Suburban Maryland

Using the structural-environmental conceptual framework, this study employed mixed methods to address the question of whether sex with female sex workers contributes to HIV risk among male immigrant Latino day laborers in suburban Maryland. Because contextual factors can greatly affect HIV risk for both sex workers and their clients, this study investigated the organizational structure of sex work, factors that predicted men’s hiring of sex workers, sexual behaviors performed with sex workers, and the use of condoms. 

Qualitative research was conducted to inform the development of a quantitative survey, but also provided crucial descriptions about the motivations, locations, arrangements, and sexual activities related to sex work. Key informant interviews (N= 10), in-depth interviews with day laborers (N= 10) and Latina female sex workers (N = 4), and two focus groups with day laborers (N= 11) were conducted, and a quantitative survey administered via Audio-enhanced Computer-assisted Self-interviewing (N = 174). 

Condom use was nearly universal in encounters with female sex workers, thus indicating that the sex workers were not an important source of HIV transmission in this context. Logistic regression was performed to test a model predicting sex with sex workers. Latino day laborers who reported more immigrant stress and who did not have a partner in the U.S. were more likely to have had sex with a sex worker, as were men who reported binge drinking. Structural and social conditions influenced the hiring of sex workers. 

Further research is warranted to better understand the interrelationships among these circumstances and to inform the development of programs to address them.

Experiences of Latino day laborers with sex workers
Ways men find sex workers (N= 174)
  Sex workers give out business cards59.2
  Friends tell each other50.6
  Pimp approaches potential clients33.3
  Sex workers are in public places (e.g., street corner)14.9
Locations where men have sex with sex workers (N= 174)
  House or apartment (“delivery”)58.1
  Brothel (“casa de sitas”)36.8
  Hotel or motel28.7
  Street, car, or park19.0
  Bar, discotheque, restaurant16.7
Reasons participants had sex with sex workers (N= 52)
  Lack of companionship65.4
  Relief from sexual urges55.8
  No commitment51.9
  Only sex available40.4
  Fun and pleasure36.5
  Distraction from problems17.3
Sexual behaviors participants performed with sex workers (N= 52)
  Vaginal intercourse76.9
  Oral sex on the participant59.6
  Manual stimulation of penis34.6
  Anal intercourse9.6
  Oral sex on the woman3.9
Note: Participants could select more than one response option

Full article at:

Department of Psychology, George Washington University, 2125 G St. NW, Washington, DC 20052, USA
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Fernanda T. Bianchi: ude.uwg@ihcnaibf

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