Confronting structural violence in sex work: lessons from a community-led HIV prevention project in Mysore, India

AIDS Care. 2011 Jan;23(1):69-74. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2010.498868.


Evidence from community-led HIV prevention projects suggests that structural interventions may result in reduced rates of HIV and STIs. The complex relationship between empowerment and confronting stigma, discrimination and physical abuse necessitates further investigation into the impact that such interventions have on the personal risks for sex workers. This article aims to describe lived experiences of members from a sex worker's collective in Mysore, India and how they have confronted structural violence. The narratives highlight experiences of violence and the development and implementation of strategies that have altered the social, physical, and emotional environment for sex workers. Building an enabling environment was key to reducing personal risks inherent to sex work, emphasizing the importance of community-led structural interventions for sex workers in India.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Police
  • Power, Psychological
  • Sex Work / psychology*
  • Social Environment
  • Social Support
  • Violence / prevention & control*