Love, Trust, and HIV Risk Among Female Sex Workers and Their Intimate Male Partners

Am J Public Health. 2015 Aug;105(8):1667-74. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302620. Epub 2015 Jun 11.


Objectives: We examined correlates of love and trust among female sex workers and their noncommercial male partners along the Mexico-US border.

Methods: From 2011 to 2012, 322 partners in Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, completed assessments of love and trust. Cross-sectional dyadic regression analyses identified associations of relationship characteristics and HIV risk behaviors with love and trust.

Results: Within 161 couples, love and trust scores were moderately high (median 70/95 and 29/40 points, respectively) and correlated with relationship satisfaction. In regression analyses of HIV risk factors, men and women who used methamphetamine reported lower love scores, whereas women who used heroin reported slightly higher love. In an alternate model, men with concurrent sexual partners had lower love scores. For both partners, relationship conflict was associated with lower trust.

Conclusions: Love and trust are associated with relationship quality, sexual risk, and drug use patterns that shape intimate partners' HIV risk. HIV interventions should consider the emotional quality of sex workers' intimate relationships.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / etiology
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Love*
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Sex Workers / psychology*
  • Sex Workers / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Trust* / psychology
  • Unsafe Sex / psychology*
  • Unsafe Sex / statistics & numerical data