Efficacy of multicomponent culturally tailored HIV/ STI prevention interventions targeting foreign female entertainment workers: a quasi-experimental trial

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Abstract

Objectives

We assessed the efficacy of a multicomponent culturally tailored HIV/STI prevention intervention programme on consistent condom use and STI incidence among foreign Thai and Vietnamese female entertainment workers (FEWs) in Singapore.

Methods

We conducted a quasi-experimental pretest and post-test intervention trial with a comparison group. We recruited 220 participants (115 Vietnamese and 105 Thai) for the comparison group, followed by the intervention group (same number) from the same sites which were purposively selected after a 3-month interval period. Both groups completed a self-administered anonymous questionnaire and STI testing for cervical gonorrhoea and Chlamydia, as well as pharyngeal gonorrhoea at baseline and 6-week follow-up. The peer-led intervention consisted of behavioural (HIV/STI education and condom negotiation skills), biomedical (STI screening and treatment services) and structural components (access to free condoms). We used the mixed effects Poisson regression model accounting for clustering by establishment venue to compute the adjusted risk ratio (aRR) of the outcomes at follow-up.

Results

At follow-up, the intervention group was more likely than the comparison group to report consistent condom use for vaginal sex with paid (aRR 1.77; 95% CI 1.71 to 1.83) and casual (aRR 1.81; 95% CI 1.71 to 1.91) partners. For consistent condom use for oral sex, this was aRR 1.50; 95% CI 1.23 to 1.82 with paid and aRR 1.54; 95% CI 1.22 to 1.95 with casual partners. STI incidence at follow-up was significantly lower in the intervention (6.8 per 100 FEWs) than the comparison (14.8 per 100 FEWs) group (aRR 0.42; 95% CI 0.32 to 0.55).

Conclusions

This trial was effective in promoting consistent condom use for vaginal and oral sex as well as reducing STI incidence among the foreign Thai and Vietnamese FEWs in Singapore. The feasibility of scaling up the interventions to all entertainment establishments in Singapore should be assessed.

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