This research is the first large scale quantitative research on sex workers in Fiji. It has enabled an understanding of the nature and extent of sex work in Fiji, rates of HIV and STI infection among sex workers and their knowledge and behaviour around safer sex practices. This research will compliment valuable insights gained from previous qualitative research. The findings from this research will assist in the appropriate targeting and provision of education, resources and health care services to a group previously defined by UNAIDS as a most-at-risk population. Research findings will also assist UNAIDS Pacific Office and the Ministry of Health meet both national and international reporting requirements, including reporting on the Global AIDS Response Progress (GARP) and Universal Access to HIV and STI Prevention, Treatment and Care. They also provide an evidence-base to inform SAN Fiji’s three year work programme.
The study consisted of two main components (i) a population size estimation of sex workers in Fiji based on counts in seven centres (Suva, Nausori, Lautoka, Ba, Nadi, Labasa, Savusavu); and (ii) an integrated biological and behavioural surveillance (IBBS) survey administered to 298 sex workers. A community-based participatory research approach was adopted to guide the overall research design. This involved an active and on-going partnership between the researchers and the sex worker community together with other key stakeholder at all stages of the research process including the final analysis and interpretation.
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