Socio-cultural and environmental health risks and resilience among street-based women and transgender sex workers

Funding body: CIHR

Background: This study examines how socio-cultural and environmental factors influence health risks and resilience among street-based women and transgender (i.e., male to female) sex workers in the tri-city area of Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge (KWC), Ontario. While research exists on women and transgender sex workers, these groups are often combined in study design and data analysis and very little attention has been paid to how their unique gendered and sexual identities affect their health. There is significant heterogeneity with regard to gendered identities, economic situation and substance use concerns. Assessing how these differences impact health risk and resilience will address pressing research gaps. Study findings will also inform the development of gender-specific service and policy initiatives to address the impact of socio-cultural and environmental influences on the substance use behaviour and other health challenges of street-based women and transgender sex workers in the research area, which has been identified by local health and service providers as a pressing and unmet need for these marginalized members of society.

Progress to date: The data have been collected and analysed, papers prepared and presented at academic conferences and public forums, and articles have been submitted for peer-review. Five papers have been published to date and two are in preparation.