Introduction Violence and mobility are increasingly being recognised as critical risk factors contributing to the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections worldwide. The objective of the study is to assess the independent and combined associations of mobility and physical violence with sexual risk behaviours and HIV/STI prevalence among female sex workers (FSWs) in urban Andhra Pradesh, India.
Methods A cross-sectional survey the Behavioural Tracking Survey (BTS) –2014 conducted with key populations FSWs (n=2400), in undivided Andhra Pradesh state in India was used here. Bivariate, Chi-square, and Binary logistic regression statistical techniques were used for analysis.
Results Approximately 18% of FSWs in urban Andhra Pradesh reported ever experienced physical violence, out of them, 69% experienced physical violence in the past one year and 52% travelled outside for sex work in the past one year. Mobile FSWs were more likely to report physical violence compared to their counterparts (72% vs. 62%, p < 0.048). Approximately 14% reported that they are HIV positive. FSWs from Urban Andhra Pradesh reported that those who have faced physical violence were more likely to have STI and HIV (4.177 and 3.127) as compared to their counterparts. Although FSWs facing both mobility and physical violence were not significantly associated, are two times more likely to have HIV seropositive.
Conclusion The findings conclude that mobility and violence were independently associated with sociodemographic, risky sexual behaviour and STI/HIV infection. Remarkably, the combined association of mobility and violence posed greater STI/HIV risk than their independent effect. These results indicate that there is a need for the provision of an enabling environment and safe spaces for FSWs who are mobile, to enhance existing efforts to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.