XVIII International AIDS Conference

Abstract

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Reducing the poverty-related HIV vulnerability of female sex workers and transgender women in San Luis Potosí, México

R. Torres Flores1, J. Jasso Aguilar2

1Fortaleciendo la Diversidad AC, Proyectos, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, 2Fortaleciendo la Diversidad AC, Direccion, San Luis Potosi, Mexico

Issues: Violations of the right to education and refusal by the state to provide official identification which recognizes the chosen identity of transgender people contributes to 95% of this population depending on sex work as their sole economic option.
Description: A community-based situation analysis with transgender people identified abilities, needs and interest in learning a profession or trade. We worked with the Ministry of Social Development to implement income generating projects for female sex workers and transgender people. The participants reported increased income through this opportunity for self-employment; graduates are offering their services privately as well as in beauty salons, and several have banded together with the goal of opening their own salon. Participants reported a reduction in unprotected sex, which was previously accepted for economic motives.
Lessons learned: Increased income and job opportunities for sex workers and transgender women not only improves quality of life through better nutrition and access to housing, but also increases self-esteem and reduces risk behaviour for acquiring HIV or other STIs.
Next steps: Initiatives like this that directly reduce the HIV and STI vulnerability of key populations must be expanded. Developing a support strategy for those who wish to open their own salon and/or establishing a work-study program in existing job-training centers would be ideal.


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