Inclusion of the female condom in a male condom-only intervention in the sex industry in China: A cross-sectional analysis of pre- and post-intervention surveys in three study sites
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Objectives: To describe female condom (FC) use, male condom (MC) use and overall levels of protected sex before, during and after FC education and promotion (using the original prototype FC) combined with MC promotion among female sex workers in three rural or small urban settings in southern China. Study design: The 1-year FC intervention was conducted by local health workers through outreach to establishments where sex work is conducted. Three serial cross-sectional surveys were conducted in each study town before, during and after the intervention along with process documentation throughout the intervention period. Methods: Cross-sectional data from pre-intervention (baseline) and 6-month and 12-month post-intervention surveys from three study sites are used in a descriptive comparison of the context of the sex industry, outreach in two phases of intervention, and FC adoption after the intensive intervention phase in each site. Results: Approximately 75-80% of eligible women working in sex establishments, varying from 74 to 155 participants for each survey, were recruited from three study sites. After introduction and promotion of the FC along with the MC during the community public health intervention, between one-fifth and one-half of the study participants had tried the FC in the three study sites by the time of the 6-month and 12-month cross-sectional surveys. Among them, 10-30% had used the FC more than once. FC awareness increased following the intervention with much less variation across the three study sites. At baseline, 31-54% of participants across the three sites reported 100% protected sex in the last 30 days with all types of partners. At one of the sites with relatively low MC use before the intervention, the proportion of women reporting 100% protected sex in the last 30 days increased by 15%, and the proportion reporting nil protected sex in the last 30 days decreased by 13% between baseline and 12-month post-intervention surveys. More complex profiles of FC and MC use and protected sex were shown at the other two study sites, where a higher level of protection had been reached before the project started. Conclusions: Different levels of FC adoption were identified after the 1-year FC promotion intervention through outreach to sex establishments. The input, output and outcomes of the intervention may be associated with women's demographic and risk characteristics, the local capacities of intervention staff, and other contextual factors. Further analysis of these factors will help establish the role of the FC in increasing protected sex, and provide insight into how to achieve greater FC use. © 2011 The Royal Society for Public Health.
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