• Assessment of Vulnerability of Female Sex Workers in Southeast Asia to HIV Infection

      Bala, Shruti (The University of Arizona., 2010-05)
      HIV/AIDS is more than a health issue. It can affect anyone -- men, women, and children. It is a fundamental threat to development and places the political stability and economic security of developing countries at risk. An analysis of the HIV situation in Southeast Asia among high risk population, specifically sex workers, highlights that political leadership, active health systems, resources, and community level ownership are key elements in the fight against HIV. Sex workers, both formal and informal, are vulnerable to HIV infection due to multiple partners and inconsistent condom use, injecting drug use, migration and mobility, and social and economic factors. In the past two decades, interventions such as the 100% Condom Policy and empowerment and capacity building programs have reduced the vulnerability of HIV infection among sex workers. The increasing movement of sex workers between the countries in Southeast Asia has raised concerns regarding the transmission of HIV. It is necessary to address HIV infection among sex workers from a regional perspective, taking into account the political, social, and economic situation of respective countries. HIV/AIDS is not an issue restricted to the health center alone -- it requires a multi-sectorial approach that combines policy, education, empowerment, health, and gender equity.