[health menu] XI International Conference on AIDS
July 7-12, 1996

Mott, Luiz
Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil

Cerqueira, M.
Universidade CatION


Risk of HIV Infection by Tranvestite Sex Workers in Brazil: Prostitution, Silicone and Drugs

Silicone and Drugs E-Issue

Transvestite sex workers represent the social group of biggest risk of contamination by HIV/AIDS in Brazil, the consequence of homosexual prostitution, intravenous drug use and application of silicone with re-used needles.


In Brazil, it is estimated there are 6,000 to 8,000 transvestites, 90% of them living as prostitutes with bisexual clients. This very poor and marginalized population is concentrated in decadent prostitution areas. These "breast boys" receive average of four clients each night. As a result of financing from the Brazilian Health Ministry and World Bank, we realized systematic work of information, self-esteem and defense of the human rights of this marginal minority, encouraging the adoption of behaviour of less risky for contamination. From a total of 235 contacts, 113 transvestites were interviewed, of which 33% had made one or more silicone aplications, and 42% intend to do; 8% declared the use of intravenous drugs and 20% only started to use condoms after the beginning of this project.


The program of prevention of STD/AIDS with transvestite sex workers of Bahia presents excellent results: after research on the local community, a booklet, a folder and a poster were produced, all with realistic language and images peculiar to this subculture. Every week safer sex workshops and direct contact with the transvestites in different prostitution areas are accomplished. In six months, the program recorded 900 interventions, and distributed 14,400 condoms.

Lessons Learned

Programs of STD/AIDS together with transvestite sex workers must use strong elements of the local subculture and count on the trust of the social actor in order to be successful.

Luiz Mott
Caixa Postal 2552
40022-260, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
Tel./Fax: 55-71-322-3782
Email: luizmott@ufba.br

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Created: July 16, 1996
Last modified: July 17, 1996

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