Female sex workers (FSW) constitute a highly vulnerable population challenged by numerous co-existing, or syndemic, risk factors. FSW also display resilience to these, and some evidence suggests that resilience may be associated with protective factors that improve health outcomes. We conducted in-depth interviews with indirect sex workers (n = 11) and their clients (n = 18). Interviews were coded utilizing an iterative, modified constant comparison method to identify emergent themes. We identified five syndemic risk factors (difficulty finding work due to undocumented status, shame and mental health hardship, lack of social support, alcohol use, and violence) and five resilient factors (rationalizing sex work, identifying as a “decent” woman, fulfilling immigrant goals, reducing alcohol consumption, and creating rules to reduce risk of violence and HIV/STIs). Understanding the syndemic risk factors and resiliency developed by FSW is important to develop tailored, strength-based interventions for HIV/STIs and other risks.
- Female sex work
- Latino immigrants
- Syndemic factors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health