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Socio-demographic characteristics and risk factors for HIV transmission in female bar workers in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic literature review

Dambach, P; Mahenge, B; Mashasi, I; Muya, A; Barnhart, DA; Bärnighausen, TW; Spiegelman, D; (2020) Socio-demographic characteristics and risk factors for HIV transmission in female bar workers in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic literature review. BMC Public Health , 20 (1) , Article 697. 10.1186/s12889-020-08838-8. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Although sex workers are considered a key population in the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), less consideration has been given to female bar workers (FBW), whose primary occupation is not sex work but who often engage in transactional sex. Understanding FBWs' risk profiles is central to designing targeted HIV prevention interventions for them. This systematic review describes the socio-demographic characteristics and risk factors for HIV transmission among FBWs in SSA. METHODS: We searched six databases: PubMed, Google Scholar, Web of Science, Popline, Embase and additionally the World Health Organization's WHOLIS database for grey literature between July and September 2017. Inclusion criteria were reporting (1) primary socio-demographic or behavioral data; on (2) women who sold or delivered drinks to clients; (3) in establishments serving alcohol; (4) in SSA. We excluded studies not presenting separate data on FBWs. We extracted quantitative and qualitative data from the selected studies and conducted a qualitative synthesis of findings. RESULTS: We found 4565 potentially eligible articles, including duplicates. After applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, we retained 19 articles. FBWs often migrated from rural to urban areas due to economic need or social marginalization. They began bar-based transactional sex due to low wages, peer pressure and to increase financial independence. FBWs had high HIV risk awareness but low agency to negotiate condom use, particularly with regular partners or when offered higher prices for condomless sex. FBWs were also vulnerable to violence and stigmatization. CONCLUSIONS: FBWs are a vulnerable population for HIV infection. Despite social stigmatization and elevated risk of contracting STIs, bar work remains attractive because it enables unskilled women to both, make a living and maintain some independence. FBWs face HIV-related risk factors at the individual, community and societal level and may benefit from biomedical, behavioral and structural interventions.

Type: Article
Title: Socio-demographic characteristics and risk factors for HIV transmission in female bar workers in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic literature review
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-020-08838-8
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-08838-8
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Bar girls, Barmaids, Behavioral risk factors, HIV, Sex work, Sub-Saharan Africa, Waitresses
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098335
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