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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


ALLEN, Betania et al. Affection, kisses and condoms: the basics of sexual practices of female sex workers in Mexico City. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2003, vol.45, suppl.5, pp.S595-S607. ISSN 0036-3634.

OBJECTIVE: To describe and explore the meanings of sexual practices among female sex workers (FSW) in Mexico City. MATERIAL AND METHODS: A qualitative and quantitative study was carried out. The qualitative approach was conducted in 1992 and the latter from 1991 to 1992. The study population was a representative sample of FSW (n=335) who completed a questionnaire; 52 of them also participated in six focal groups. Simple frequencies, central trend, and dispersion measures were calculated. Qualitative data were interpreted using Grounded Theory and a feminist perspective. RESULTS: Female sex workers accepted vaginal penetration with clients and oral penetration to a lesser extent, while anal penetration and kissing were rejected. All sexual modalities were accepted with personal partners. In their practice, FSW use psychophysical dissociation as a psychological defense mechanism and to construct their identities. Services requested by their latest clients were: 98.4% vaginal, 39.1% oral, and 7.7% anal sex. Condom use was reported by 94%. With their personal partner, 72.6% of FSW never used condoms. The week before the study, FSW worked 3.7±1.5 days on average and had sexual intercourse with 8.6±8.1 clients. CONCLUSIONS: Interventions are needed to promote safe sex among FSW in their private and professional lives.

Keywords : female sex workers; condom use; HIV prevention; sexual practices; HIV risk practices; Mexico.

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