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THE PRIMACY OF GENDER IN STD AND HIV PREVENTION PROGRAMMES: THE CASE OF FEMALE SEX WORKERS OF KOTTAYAM, KERALA

By Jos Chathukulam and M. S. John

Abstract

Intervention projects aimed at preventing STD and HIV generally tend to target the women sex workers and through them their clients. In such an approach women sex workers are often seen as the source of infection and the agents of change, with attendant burden accompanying that role. The responsibility for persuading male clients to use condoms after procuring them, making clients actually wear them and ensuring their disposal also lies with the sex workers. The approach has failed to recognize the gender issues surrounding sexual health, particularly the power relations existing in society. While gender justice is a recognized legitimate concern, the discourse has excluded the sex workers from its purview making them the moral “other”. Sexual health projects implemented currently in different parts of Kerala are not sensitive to gender issues because they mistakenly assume that the sex workers are autonomous subjects. Such projects avoid more fundamental issues and tend to focus narrowly on the promotion of condoms without regard to the implications of power relations on male receptivity to, and compliance in condom use. Gender questions have not been recognised by the state level agencies co-ordinatin

Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.197.4599
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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