Background and objective: The Sonagachi Project in Calcutta, India, organized sex workers to improve working conditions.
Goal: To compare rates of sexually transmitted diseases between the Sonagachi Project and other areas in which only the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) interventions were implemented.
Study: A cross-sectional survey of randomly selected female sex workers.
Results: There was no difference in the prevalence of all STDs between the 2 areas; both were lower than reported in other surveys in 1992. Analysis using propensity scores also failed to demonstrate any difference. The number of preventive activities was similar in the Sonagachi and NACO-only areas but was more prevalent than in 1992. Sex workers in the Sonagachi area had better treatment-seeking behavior and attitudes. Both the Sonagachi and NACO strategies have resulted in lower STD rates, but the Sonagachi Project also increased the proportion who had an optimistic attitude and increased prevention and treatment-seeking behavior.