In Uganda, commercial sex work is considered illegal and therefore women involved in sex trade are not included in the mainstream health plan. This not only limits them from accessing information but also hinders their access to health services considering that they operate under cultural and social constraints. The illegality of the industry makes sex workers vulnerable to exploitation as they are not protected under the law. It also creates an environment of social stigma by both the community and in other cases, discrimination by the health workers. Stigmatization by the general public towards sex workers has become a hindrance for them with regard to accessing social services which would be vital in enhancing their health and those who use their services.
Secondly, Uganda has adopted mass safe male circumcision as a strategy for reduction of heterosexually acquired HIV infection as recommended by the World Health Organization. However, this has been perceived by the public as absolute protection thus leading to reckless sexual behavior.
This study will therefore provide an understanding of the dynamics of the sex industry, perceived benefits, and sexual experiences and practices of female sex workers with both circumcised and non-circumcised men. The results of the study will ultimately provide useful information for designing appropriate messages on the relative benefits of circumcision among high risk groups.
Study Investigators: Nick Wooding, Evelyn Nabankema and Teddy Nagaddya