Background: Physical and sexual violence heighten STI/HIV risk for women in sex work. Against this backdrop, we describe the nature of abuse against women in sex work, and its STI/HIV implications, across perpetrators. Methods. Adult women involved in sex work (n = 35) in Baltimore, MD participated in an in-depth interview and brief survey. Results: Physical and sexual violence were prevalent, with 43% reporting past-month abuse. Clients were the primary perpetrators; their violence was severe, compromised women's condom and sexual negotiation, and included forced and coerced anal intercourse. Sex work was a factor in intimate partner violence. Police abuse was largely an exploitation of power imbalances for coerced sex. Conclusions: Findings affirm the need to address physical and sexual violence, particularly that perpetrated by clients, as a social determinant of health for women in sex work, as well as a threat to safety and wellbeing, and a contextual barrier to HIV risk reduction.
- HIV risk
- Sex work
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health