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Soc Sci Med. 2010 Aug;71(4):832-9. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.04.039. Epub 2010 May 25.

Peer norms and consistent condom use with female sex workers among male clients in Sichuan province, China.

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  • 1Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Despite their crucial role in HIV infection and transmission, commercial sex male clients (CSMCs) are rarely studied. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between peer norms and consistent condom use with female sex workers (FSWs) among CSMCs in Sichuan province, China. Male clients with peers who had paid for sex (n = 562) were recruited by local health workers through snowball sampling. Measures of peer norms included 1) descriptive norms which were evaluated by perceptions of peer's condom attitudes and behaviors with FSWs; 2) injunctive norms which were assessed by the perceived peer approval of using condoms with FSWs; and 3) communication of HIV-related topics with peers. The outcome was consistent condom use with FSWs. Results of multivariate logistic regression models revealed that consistent condom use with FSWs was significantly more likely among male clients who perceived more pro-condom descriptive and injunctive norms among their peer groups. In addition, the pattern of commercial sex visits moderated the relations between peer norms and consistent condom use with FSWs. More peer approval of condom use and more HIV-related communication were significantly associated with consistent condom use among clients who visited FSWs with friends but not among those who visited FSWs alone. The findings suggest that social activities surrounding commercial sex visits may provide an entry point for HIV prevention intervention with men who patronize FSWs and that such efforts should tap into existing dynamics of social interaction to promote pro-condom norms.

(c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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