Erausquin, J.T., Reed, E., and Blankenship, K. AIDS and Behavior (June 2015) 19(6): 1108–1115, doi: 10.1007/s10461-014-0926-5.
The authors of this study examined changes in relations between police and female sex workers (FSWs), and links between negative police actions and risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among FSWs, in the context of a community-led structural HIV prevention intervention. The analysis also examined the effects of two strategies (sensitization to challenge stigma, and a crisis intervention strategy, which was implemented later in the project) to reduce negative policing practices. The authors used cross-sectional data from 1,680 FSWs over three time periods (2006, 2007, and 2009– 2010, when the crisis intervention strategy was in place) to determine (1) whether FSWs' reports of negative interactions with police declined over time and (2) whether any association between FSWs’ reports of negative police interactions and HIV risk behaviors varied over time. Raids and arrests of FSW were lower in Round 3 than during the prior survey rounds. However, negative police practices remained linked to sexual risk-taking among FSWs. Women who had more than one negative police interaction were more likely to experience STI symptoms, use condoms inconsistently with clients, and accept higher fees for unprotected sex. The authors concluded that experiences with police were strongly associated with HIV risk in this sample of FSWs and recommended strategies to end negative police practices toward this vulnerable group.