The participation of transgender sex workers in peer prevention strategies and lobbying activities
Issues: In 2005 a community assessment with transgender sex workers (TSW) was held in the Mexican Bajio area. Violence, stigma and discrimination, denial of basic rights were identified. 85% out of the 133 consulted transgender were involved in sex work as a survival means increasing its vulnerability to STIs and HIV. Mainly, because prevention programs for this population were not developed and access to condoms and lubes was not at hand based on the lack of availability and cost.
Description: 8 transgender promoters received training and 4 peer-based training workshops were implemented reaching 100 TSW providing basic information to prevent HIV and other STI and specific vulnerability of TSW. The promoters held outreach activities in areas where sexual service is offered and 14,000 condoms and lubes were distributed. Based on these results, negotiations started and an agreement to receive male condoms and lubes as a permanent donation was set; assuring bigger access to condoms. HIV/AIDS and STIs knowledge increased in a 70%; skills to negotiate use of condoms with customers were strengthened; free condoms and lubes supply increased and 15% of them decided to test for HIV.
Lessons learned: TSW included in the design, implementation and organization allows bigger community participation; higher numbers of people reached; legitimacy to bear on the access of denied services and strengthens the culture of sex work without risks.
Next steps: The implementation was held successfully in the municipalities of San Luis Potosi and will be extended to remote municipalities and in other states of the region.
-Abstract available at link below-