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Title: A study of female sex workers in Hong Kong : moving beyond sexual health
Author: Wong, William Chi Wai
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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International research from the early 90s has convincingly shown that sex work per se is not a major vector in the spread of HIV in developed regions. Instead self-determination, autonomy and control are crucially important when it comes to HIV risks as well as the general health and well-being of the female sex workers (FSWs). A 30-minute face-to-face interview was conducted in 89 women by direct approach and snowballing through a well- established non-government organisation (NGO), followed by a focus group discussion drawn from the participants of the questionnaire in 2003-4. In 2004, an outreach Well-women clinic was set up at another NGO and using the rate of abnormal PAP smears identified and follow-up rates we wanted to assess whether it was a feasible option for early detections of pre-invasive cervical cancer in FSWs in Hong Kong. The FSWs surveyed scored significantly lower in physical, psychological, and environmental health domains in WHOQOL-BREF (HK) questionnaire when compared to non-sex workers of the same age group and sex in Hong Kong. After controlling for background characteristics, a number of factors that were inherent to the sex industry were significantly associated with poor psychological health and suicidality. In the supplementary focus group discussion some sex workers described the experience of being abused at work but at the same they could not seek any protection from .the police. While these FSWs’ perception of personal health was good, a considerable proportion had suffered from illnesses. Many street workers experienced difficulty in utilising health service in Hong Kong. When they did, it was mainly for acute problems. Affordable access to public health services was excluded and many found private services unaffordable due to the high price charged. It was common for these women to self-medicate, delay -seeking help, or travel back to China for treatment. This project identifies problems and difficulties faced by FSWs in Hong Kong and we use these findings to design a service that may improve their health. An outreach Well-women clinic seems a feasible option and an effective way in the early detection of cervical cancer for some FSWs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (M.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available