Intimate Relationships and HIV Infection Risks Among Shan Female Sex Workers From Myanmar in Chiang Mai, Thailand: a Qualitative Study
Ayuttacorn Arratee, Tangmunkongvorakul, Arunrat, Jirattikorn, Amporn, Kelly Matthew, Banwell Cathy, Kriengkrai Srithanaviboonchai (2021), “Intimate Relationships and HIV Infection Risks Among Shan Female Sex Workers From Myanmar in Chiang Mai, Thailand: a Qualitative Study”. AIDS Education and Prevention, 33(6), The Guilford Press. pp. 551- 576.
This study aimed to investigate HIV risks among female sex workers (FSWs) who were from the Shan ethnic group, and how they relate to complex relationships with inconsistent condom use. The study was conducted using in-depth interviews with 17 Shan FSWs (aged 18–45 years old) in Chiang Mai. Intimate relationships between participants and regular clients/steady partners were found to facilitate inconsistent condom use. Participating Shan FSWs sustained intimacy with regular clients not only for economic ends but also for emotional support. Gender norms and male power dominated condom use decision making. Some participants lacked proper HIV preventive knowledge regarding condom breakage and HIV risks. Effective intervention and proper HIV preventive practices should address these intimate contexts. Capacity building among women would assist FSWs to make choices that protect them from HIV/STDs infections. Couples-based HIV interventions addressing emotional intimacy is an urgent need for HIV communication and service delivery in Thailand.