Efficacy of a savings-led microfinance intervention to reduce sexual risk for HIV among women engaged in sex work: A randomized clinical trial

Witte, Susan S.; Aira, Toivgoo; Tsai, Laura Cordisco; Riedel, Marion; Offringa, Reid; Chang, Mingway P.; El-Bassel, Nabila; Ssewamala, Fred M.

Objectives. We tested whether a structural intervention combining savings-led microfinance and HIV prevention components would achieve enhanced reductions in sexual risk among women engaging in street-based sex work in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, compared with an HIV prevention intervention alone.

Methods. Between November 2011 and August 2012, we randomized 107 eligible women who completed baseline assessments to either a 4-session HIV sexual risk reduction intervention (HIVSRR) alone (n = 50) or a 34-session HIVSRR plus a savings-led microfinance intervention (n = 57). At 3- and 6-month followup assessments, participants reported unprotected acts of vaginal intercourse with paying partners and number of paying partners with whom they engaged in sexual intercourse in the previous 90 days. Using Poisson and zero-inflated Poisson model regressions, we examined the effects of assignment to treatment versus control condition on outcomes.

Results. At 6-month follow-up, the HIVSRR plus microfinance participants reported significantly fewer paying sexual partners and were more likely to report zero unprotected vaginal sex acts with paying sexual partners. Conclusions. Findings advance the HIV prevention repertoire for women, demonstrating that risk reduction may be achieved through a structural intervention that relies on asset building, including savings, and alternatives to income from sex work.

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Also Published In

American Journal of Public Health

More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Published Here
January 10, 2018