Pilot Award Recipient: Jennifer Huang Bouey, MBBS, PhD, MPH

Photo of Jennifer Huang Bouey

HIV Risks Among Local and Traveling Female Commercial Sex Workers in Washington, DC

April 15, 2015
Domestic and international migration and sexual violence are two precursors highly correlated with HIV/STI among female commercial sex workers (FCSW) worldwide. However, the relationship between these factors has not previously been explored within the United States. We propose a one-year pilot study to develop best practices for surveying HIV risk factors and collecting immunity biomarkers from local and visiting FCSWs in Washington, D.C. we rely upon a multidisciplinary team comprised of members from the Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies, George Washington University, and HIPS, a harm-reduction community-based organization that has served Washington, DC sex workers for over 20 years. This pilot data will inform the development of a R34 or R01 NIH study on how FCSWs’ occupational traveling, sexual violence, and other HIV risk behaviors impact situational and physiological susceptibility to HIV/STI. As our specific aims note, this pilot study is primarily to examine the acceptability and feasibility of collecting biological material from FCSWs. Significantly, this study will be the first in the Washington, DC area to establish best practices around such collection and to note residency-status when considering methods. The products—including the collaborative development of best practices and internet-based recruitment methods—are innovative, particularly for research involving this population. The specific aims of this pilot project are: Aim 1: To determine the effectiveness of both a) traditional sampling techniques (respondent driven sampling and time/place) and b) new, internet based sampling techniques for recruiting visiting and local FCSW. Aim 2: To develop and test the developed best practices for collecting biological materials (immunology biomarkers) from FCSWs. Aim 3: To develop and pilot test behavioral survey on the connection between occupational travel, history of sexual victimization, community connectivity, and HIV/STI risk.