Values and preferences of contraceptive methods: a mixed-methods study among sex workers from diverse settings



There is limited information on contraceptive values and preferences of sex workers. We conducted a mixed-method study to explore contraceptive values and preferences among sex workers. We conducted an online survey with individuals from 38 countries (n = 239), 6 focus group discussions (FGD, n = 68) in Zimbabwe, and 12 in-depth phone interviews (IDI) across 4 world regions, in June and July of 2019. Participants were asked about awareness of contraceptives, methods they had used in the past, and the determinants of their choices. Differences between respondents from high-, low- and middle- income countries were examined. Qualitative data were analysed thematically. Survey participants reported an awareness of modern contraceptive methods. FGDs found that younger women had lower awareness. Reports of condomless sex were common and modern contraceptive use was inconsistent. Determinants of contraceptive choices differed by setting according to results of the survey, FGD, and IDI. Regardless of country income level, determinants of contraceptive choices included ease of use, ease of access to a contraceptive method, and fewer side effects. Healthcare provider attitudes, availability of methods, and clinic schedules were important considerations. Most sex workers are aware of contraceptives, but barriers include male partners/clients, side effects, and health system factors such as access and clinic attitudes towards sex workers.

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