Exploring associations between place of sex work and HIV vulnerabilities among sex workers in Jamaica

Carmen H. Logie, Ying Wang, Patrick Lalor, Davina Williams, Kandasi Levermore, Susan G. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sex workers’ work environment shapes HIV transmission dynamics. We applied the Structural HIV Determinants Framework to examine associations between the work environment of public spaces and HIV infection risks among sex workers in Jamaica, considering macro-structural (police harassment) and intrapersonal (depression) pathways. We implemented a cross-sectional survey with sex workers in Kingston, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and nearby towns in Jamaica. We conducted structural equation modeling to examine direct and indirect associations between place of sex work on HIV serostatus via mediators of police harassment and depression. Results indicate that public place of sex work had a significant indirect effect on self-reported HIV-positive serostatus; depression and police harassment mediated this relationship. Findings suggest that in contexts of criminalization, the sex work environment can elevate exposure to police violence and depression, in turn increasing HIV vulnerabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1186-1194
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of STD and AIDS
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • HIV
  • Jamaica
  • Sex work
  • depression
  • violence
  • work environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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