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Research letter
Conducting rapid qualitative research to support sex workers’ health and social needs in the face of COVID-19: capitalising on stakeholder networks from the HIV response in Singapore to drive policymaking
  1. Rayner Kay Jin Tan1,
  2. Jane Mingjie Lim1,
  3. Jamie Jay-May Lo1,
  4. Alvin Kuo Jing Teo1,
  5. Caitlin Alsandria O'Hara2,
  6. Ann Hui Ching2,
  7. Vanessa Ho3,
  8. Mee Lian Wong1
  1. 1 Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University Singapore and National University Health System, Singapore
  2. 2 Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  3. 3 Project X, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Mr Rayner Kay Jin Tan, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University Singapore and National University Health System, Singapore, Singapore, 117549; rayner.tan{at}

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As of mid-June 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has afflicted over 8 million people.1 Sex workers, in particular, have not been given due attention during the COVID-19 pandemic; rapidly emerging data show that many sex workers are experiencing extreme hardship due to a total loss of income and increased discrimination and harassment.2 Since COVID-19 was first reported in Singapore, its spread has been characterised by a sharp rise in cases among migrant workers, which led to public health concerns around the transmission risk that this population might have had with other individuals in the community, including sex workers.3 In Singapore, there exists ‘formal’ sex workers who operate out of strictly regulated brothels, alongside ‘informal’ sex workers who operate out of entertainment establishments and those who solicit clients on the streets at the red-light districts or through online channels.4

To address these growing …

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  • Handling editor Anna Maria Geretti

  • Contributors RKJT, VH and MLW conceptualised and designed the study. RKJT, JML, JJML, AKJT and MLW conducted the interviews and analysed the data. RKJT wrote the first draft of the paper. All authors contributed to final revisions to the text and read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This study was funded by the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore.

  • Disclaimer The authors' work was independent of the funders, who had no role in the design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data or the decision to submit for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was granted by the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health Department Ethics Review Committee (Reference: SSHSPH-028).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.