Shrestha, R., Karki, P., & Copenhaver, M.
Primary Prevention Insights, May 2016. Abstract
Heterosexual sex involving female sex workers (FSWs) is widely documented for its role in facilitating the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)/HIV. Critical to such studies, and increasingly considered essential to HIV prevention efforts, is the gender constructs and power dynamics within relationships. However, little efforts have been made, which focus on male clients of FSWs, particularly on the relationship between gender ideologies and men’s sexual contact with FSWs, within the Nepali context. The present study aims to fill this critical gap by assessing the prevalence of use of FSWs and its association with STIs/HIV-related risk behaviors and gender ideologies among Nepali men. We used data from the nationally representative Nepal Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2011. For the purpose of analyses, we included a sample of 4,121 men, aged 15-49 years. During data analyses, we used multivariate logistic regression models, adjusted for the following variables: age, region, residence, religion, educational level, wealth index, employment status, and cigarette smoking status. Of the total sample, approximately 5% reported the use of FSWs in their lifetime. In regression models, men who had sex with FSWs were more likely to report a history of STIs [adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 3.03; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.69-5.43; P < 0.001], not using condom all the time (aOR: 1.31; 95% CI: 1.05-2.12; P = 0.010), more than one sexual partner (aOR: 3.75; 95% CI: 2.18-5.23; P < 0.001), and have had early sexual debut (aOR: 2.60; 95% CI: 1.85-3.67; P < 0.001). Respondents reporting the endorsement of violence against wives (aOR: 1.65; 95% CI: 1.01-2.84; P = 0.04) and male sexual entitlement (aOR: 1.63; 95% CI: 1.21-2.32; P = 0.001) were significantly more likely to report sexual contact with FSWs. Our findings highlight the need to develop and implement specifically tailored interventions toward male clients of FSWs, with a particular emphasis on promoting equitable gender roles and beliefs.