Reaching key populations through key venues: Insights from the Jamaica HIV Prevention Program

PLoS One. 2018 Nov 26;13(11):e0206962. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0206962. eCollection 2018.


Introduction: HIV prevention strategies often include outreach to female sex workers at social venues identified as places where people meet new sexual partners. Patrons and staff at these venues may include female sex workers, their clients, as well as others who have high rates of new sexual partnerships. Few studies have compared HIV/STI among venue-based and general populations, across types of venues, or by sub-group of the venue population. Program planners often assume that the prevalence of infection is highest among female sex workers and considerably lower among other people at these venues, but there are few empiric studies assessing the prevalence of infection by sex worker status and type of venue.

Methods: In 2011, we used the PLACE method to identify public venues where people meet new sexual partners across Jamaica. The study team visited all venues with reported sex work as well as a 10% random sample of other venues and subsequently interviewed and tested a probability sample of 991 venue patrons and workers for HIV and other STI.

Results: Community informants identified 1207 venues. All venues where sex work was reported (735 venues) and a random sample of the remainder (134 of 472) were selected for onsite visits. Of these, 585 were found and operational. At a stratified random sample of venues, survey teams interviewed and tested 717 women and 274 men. 394 women reported recent sex work and 211 of these women reported soliciting clients on the street. Women exchanging sex for money were more likely to be infected with HIV (5.4% vs 1.0%; OR = 5.6, 95% CI = 1.8,17.3) or syphilis (11.7% vs. 5.8%, OR = 2.2, 95% CI = 1.7,4,0) than other women, but not significantly more likely to be infected with gonorrhea (8.4% vs 7.8%; OR = 1.1,95% CI = 0.6,1.9), chlamydia (16.2% vs 21.6%;OR = 0.7,95% CI = 0.5,1.0) or trichomoniasis (23.0% vs 17.0%, OR = 1.5,95% CI = 0.9,2.2). Women at venues were more likely to report sex work and multiple partners than women interviewed in a 2008 national population-based household survey commissioned by the Ministry of Health.

Conclusions: In Jamaica, although the highest HIV prevalence was among street-based sex workers, the risk of HIV and STI extends to men and women at high risk venues, even those who do not self-identify as sex workers. Findings confirm the appropriateness of outreach to all men and women at these venues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Jamaica / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Health Programs
  • Population Surveillance
  • Sex Workers
  • Young Adult