Factores de riesgo para VIH entre los nativos transexuales de Hawai trabajadores de la industria del sexo

HIV risk factors among native Hawaiian transgender sex industry workers

A A Hawelu
Ke Ola Mamo, Honolulu, United States

Traditional Polynesian sexuality condones casual sex between a man and a “mahu,” and this is one of the reasons that over 60% of sex industry workers in Honolulu’s redlight district are male-to-female transgenders.

Description. Prostitution is one of the main “careers” among Native Hawaiian transgenders. Nearly all in this population have engaged in sex industry work at one time or the other. Discrimination keeps them from mainstream education and job opportunities. A three-year project was conducted to reduce risk among transgender sex industry workers, using peer-based interventions in case management, support groups and community building activities. The unique approach of this project lies in the teaching of traditional Hawaiian values toward sexuality and gender orientation to build self esteem and the application of present-day Hawaiian values such as “malama” (caring), “pono” (rightness) and “kuleana” (responsibility). The latter were applied by peer outreach counselors.

Lessons learned. 1) peer-based interventions are the only ones that work in this difficult-to-reach population; 2) drug use is almost universal, and is often used by prostitutes while on the job; 3) crystal methamphetamine is the drug of choice among this population, and this problem needs to be addressed along with HIV prevention; and 4) the general welfare of this population depends on accessibility to needed services.

Recommendations: Since transgender sex industry workers are at high risk for HIV infection and transmission, programs are needed to address the root causes: eg., employment training; and access to higher education.

The XIV International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. TuPeF5280


Suggested Citation
” A A Hawelu , HIV risk factors among native Hawaiian transgender sex industry workers . Poster Exhibition: The XIV International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. TuPeF5280″

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