Adapting the Risk Environment Framework to Understand Substance Use, Gender-Based Violence, and HIV Risk Behaviors Among Female Sex Workers in Tanzania

AIDS Behav. 2018 Oct;22(10):3296-3306. doi: 10.1007/s10461-018-2156-8.


Female sex workers (FSWs) in sub-Saharan Africa are disproportionately affected by HIV and gender-based violence (GBV). Substance use overlaps with these co-occurring epidemics to further increase FSWs' risk for negative health outcomes. We explored the relationship between substance use, GBV, and consistent condom use utilizing baseline data from a cohort of 496 FSWs in Tanzania. Results demonstrate high levels of alcohol use and GBV, and low levels of consistent condom use. Frequent intoxication during sex work was associated with increased odds of recent GBV (aOR 1.64, 95% CI 1.07, 2.49; p value 0.02) and reduced odds of consistent condom use with clients (aOR 0.58, 95% CI 0.37, 0.92; p-value 0.02). We adapt the risk environment framework to contextualize our findings in the social and structural context and to gain insight into intervention approaches to address the intersecting challenges of substance use, GBV, and HIV among FSWs in Tanzania and similar settings.

Keywords: Female sex workers; Gender-based violence; HIV; Sub-Saharan Africa; Substance use.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Condoms
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Gender-Based Violence*
  • HIV
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Safe Sex
  • Sex Work*
  • Sex Workers / psychology*
  • Sex Workers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Tanzania
  • Violence / psychology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*