Where Do Female Sex Workers Seek HIV and Reproductive Health Care and What Motivates These Choices? A Survey in 4 Cities in India, Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa.
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Background A baseline cross-sectional survey among female sex workers (FSWs) was conducted in four cities within the context of an implementation research project aiming to improve FSWs’ access to HIV, and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. The survey measured where FSWs seek HIV/SRH care and what motivates their choice. Methods Using respondent-driven sampling (RDS), FWSs were recruited in Durban, South Africa (n = 400), Tete, Mozambique (n = 308), Mombasa, Kenya (n = 400) and Mysore, India (n = 458) and interviewed. RDS-adjusted proportions were estimated by non-parametric bootstrapping, and compared across cities using post-hoc pairwise comparison tests. Results Across cities, FSWs most commonly sought care for the majority of HIV/SRH services at public health facilities, most especially in Durban (ranging from 65% for condoms to 97% for HIV care). Services specifically targeting FSWs only had a high coverage in Mysore for STI care (89%) and HIV testing (79%). Private-for-profit clinics were important providers in Mombasa (ranging from 17% for STI care and HIV testing to 43% for HIV care), but not in the other cities. The most important reason for the choice of care provider in Durban and Mombasa was proximity, in Tete ‘where they always go’, and in Mysore cost of care. Where available, clinics specifically targeting FSWs were more often chosen because of shorter waiting times, perceived higher quality of care, more privacy and friendlier personnel. Conclusion The place where care is sought for HIV/SRH services differs substantially between cities. Targeted services have limited coverage in the African cities compared to Mysore. Convenience appears more important for choosing the place of care than aspects of quality of care. The best model to improve access, linking targeted interventions with general health services, will need to be tailored to the specific context of each city.
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