Sex Work in Trucking Milieux: "Lot Lizards," Truckers, and Risk

Yorghos Apostolopoulos, Sevil Sönmez, Mona Shattell, Jennie Kronenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Long-haul truckers often engage in risk-laden sexual mixing and drug exchanges with female sex workers while on the road, which increase their vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections/blood borne infections (STI/BBI). Objective: An ethnoepidemiological study of STI/BBI in trucker-centered populations was conducted at four truckstops in the United States. This article reports findings from an analysis of the female sex worker data, which show how mobility and transience, as well as poverty, homelessness, and exposure to violence, have the potential to exacerbate the occupational health risks of female sex workers. Methods: Phase 1 involved nonparticipant observation of trucker risk network groups in public and semi-public settings at two Arizona truckstops. Phase 2 was a large-scale ethnoepidemiological study of STI/BBI risk among trucker networks at two Georgia truckstops. Ten sex workers in Phoenix and 29 in Atlanta were interviewed individually or in focus groups. Textual data were analyzed using QSR NVivo 8 and serological data collected from the Georgia sample were analyzed for STIs/HIV. Results: Infections occur within these populations, where the existence of multiple risks delivered via multiple channels within physical proximity maintains infection and transmission. Conclusions: Environmental-level interventions, such as better security at truck stops, and individual-level interventions, such as STI/BBI infection education and testing for FSWs and truckers, can contribute to safer settings for truckers, sex workers, and their sex and drug partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-152
Number of pages13
JournalNursing forum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Infection risk
  • Sex work
  • Truckers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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