During the STI & HIV 2019 World Congress GGD Zuid Limburg and CAPHRI IPG PhD-candidate Charlotte Peters was awarded the first prize for best oral presentation for her presentation entitled: “Reaching home-based female sex workers with preventive sexual health care services in The Netherlands”. This biannual congress organized by ISSTDR and IUSTI was held from 14 – 17 July in Vancouver, Canada.
In the Netherlands there has been an ongoing shift from indoor sex work settings such as licensed brothels and clubs to home-based sex work. Consequently, female sex workers (FSW) are harder to reach by regional public health services (GGD) who offer free and anonymous preventive sexual health care services such as sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and hepatitis B vaccinations. The qualitative research presented at the congress, supervised by Prof.dr. Christian Hoebe, Dr. Nicole Dukers-Muijrers en Dr. Fraukje Mevissen, provides an insight in the sex work, sexual health behavior and reachability of home-based female sex workers. The research identified barriers and facilitators of home-based female sex workers engaging in sexual health care services provided by STI clinic. The key messages presented were about the low awareness of STI risks perceived by the home-based FSW, the low awareness of the available tailored, anonymous and confidential sexual health care services and the need of home-based FSW for building trust and direct contact by phone between them and the health care professional. It was advised to take these factors into account in order to optimize reach of future preventive sexual health care services.
Charlotte was granted a scholarship which made it possible for her to attend the congress in Vancouver and present her study. The STI & HIV 2019 World Congress had more than a thousand delegates, accepting 1050 abstracts from 72 countries. Around 100 abstracts were selected for an oral presentation.