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AIDS Behav. 2013 Oct;17(8):2597-603. doi: 10.1007/s10461-013-0447-7.

The influence of stigma and discrimination on female sex workers' access to HIV services in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA,


Stigma associated with HIV and risk behaviors is known to be a barrier to health care access for many populations. Less is known about female sex workers (FSW) in Russia, a population that is especially vulnerable to HIV-infection, and yet hard-to-reach for service providers. We administered a questionnaire to 139 FSW to better understand how stigma and discrimination influence HIV service utilization. Logistic regression analysis indicated that HIV-related stigma is negatively associated with uptake of HIV testing, while sex work-related stigma is positively associated with HIV testing. HIV-positive FSW are more likely than HIV-negative FSW to experience discrimination in health care settings. While decreasing societal stigma should be a long-term goal, programs that foster inclusion of marginalized populations in Russian health care settings are urgently needed.

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