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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Two Sides of the Same Story: Alcohol Use and HIV Risk Taking in South India

  • Author(s): Rodríguez, Daniela C.
  • Krishnan, A. K.
  • Kumarasamy, N.
  • Krishnan, Gopal
  • Solomon, Davidson
  • Johnson, Sethulakshmi
  • Vasudevan, C. K.
  • Solomon, Raja
  • Ekstrand, Maria L.
  • et al.

This qualitative study examines the role of alcohol in sexual risk among male migrant workers and female sex workers in two South Indian states. Most men reported using alcohol for increased energy and courage prior to their sexual experiences and to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Sex workers, on the other hand, often stated that they avoided alcohol prior to sex in order to stay alert and reduce the risk of violence. Both groups reported that drinking often increased male aggression and reduced condom use. Research is needed to examine the prevalence of these patterns as well as factors associated with sexual risk and violence, in order to develop targeted interventions for these groups. Future risk reduction programs may benefit from addressing safer ways of meeting the needs expressed by the participants. This may include strategies to defuse volatile situations, safe ways of improving the sexual experience, and interventions aimed at alleviating loneliness and isolation for migrants.

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