Healthcare program for sex workers: a public health priority




The objective of this study was to propose a model of health care for sexual workers (SWs) and transvestites (Ts) groups who were historically excluded from health services.

Materials and methods

A prospective descriptive/analytical study with an intervention stage was performed, focusing on the health status of SWs and Ts. Access to health system, inclusion into social programs, beneficiaries' participation, and rate of risk behaviors were variables measured before and after intervention that consist in a program based on promotion/prevention activities and complete health care service suitable to SW–T needs.


Nine hundred and fifty SW–Ts were included. At baseline, 99.7% lacked health insurance and 90.1% had no access to the health care. These data were compared with those obtained after attention quadruplicated among SW because of the implementation of the program. Risky sexual behaviors were reduced by 25 times. SWs have their own leader of health institutions and coordinate themselves with the program's activities.


Responsibility of the state's authorities on vulnerable groups must focus on their inclusion. To this end, health services must adapt themselves in order to attend those community groups with special needs. Active participation of the target population contributes to viability of this type of proposals, and it is essential for the project's success. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.