Acceptability of a microenterprise intervention among female sex workers in Chennai, India

Susan G. Sherman, A. K. Srikrishnan, Katharine A. Rivett, Su Hsun Liu, Suniti Solomon, David D. Celentano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Female sex workers have been central in India's HIV epidemic since it was first diagnosed among them in 1989. Female sex workers' risk of HIV is primarily economically motivated. The Pi pilot study examined the feasibility and association of a microenterprise intervention, the tailoring of canvas bags, on sexual risk behaviors among female sex workers (N = 100) in Chennai. Women were randomized to an intervention or control arm. Between-group comparisons at baseline and at six-month follow-up were performed. Multivariate linear regression with bootstrapping was conducted to estimate the intervention effect. At baseline, womenwere a median of 35 years old, 61%were married and they had an average of two children. Intervention participants reported a significantly lower number of sex partners and significant increases in income at the 6-month follow-up compared to control participants. In a multivariate model, intervention participants had a significantly lower number of paying clients per month at follow-up compared to control participants. By graduation, 75% of intervention arm participants had made at least one sellable canvas bag and 6 months after the study's end, 60%have continued involvement in bag production. The pilot study demonstrated that microenterprise interventions are successful in both providing FSWswith licit income opportunities and was associated with reductions in HIV risk behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-657
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS and behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Female sex workers
  • India
  • Microenterprise intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Acceptability of a microenterprise intervention among female sex workers in Chennai, India'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this