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Glob Public Health. 2017 Jul;12(7):876-891. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2015.1124905. Epub 2015 Dec 28.

Motivators and barriers to HIV testing among street-based female sex workers in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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a Department of Health Behavior , Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill , Chapel Hill , NC , USA.
b Department of Sociology , St. Petersburg State University , St. Petersburg , Russia.


Female sex workers are particularly susceptible to HIV-infection in Russia. However, a dearth of information exists on their utilisation of HIV services. A mixed-methods, cross-sectional study was conducted to examine motivators and barriers to HIV testing among street-based sex workers in St. Petersburg, Russia. The health belief model was the theoretical framework for the study. Twenty-nine sex workers participated in in-depth interviews, and 139 sex workers completed interviewer-administered surveys between February and September 2009. Barriers to getting an HIV test were fear of learning the results, worrying that other people would think they were sick, and the distance needed to travel to obtain services. Motivators for getting tested were protecting others from infection, wanting to know one's status and getting treatment if diagnosed. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that knowing people living with HIV [aOR = 6.75, 95% CI (1.11, 41.10)] and length of time since start of injection drug use [aOR = 0.30, 95% CI (0.09, 0.97)] were significantly associated with recently getting tested. These results are important to consider when developing public health interventions to help female sex workers in Russia learn their HIV status and get linked to care and treatment services if needed.


HIV testing; Russia; sex workers

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