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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Social science & medicine
Title Condom use, power and HIV/AIDS risk: sex-workers bargain for survival in Hillbrow/Joubert Park/Berea, Johannesburg
Author(s)
Volume 53
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2001
Page numbers 99-121
URL http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.453.6192&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Abstract
Through interviews with 50 female sex-workers in the Hillbrow/Berea/Joubert Park area of Johannesburg, this paper
explores sexual negotiations between men and women in the sex industry. This paper focuses on factors that affect
sexual decision-making including safer sex practices. In moving beyond approaches that emphasize women’s
‘powerlessness’ in sexual negotiation, this article focuses on ways in which sex-workers capitalize on clients’ reluctance
to use condoms in sexual exchanges. We emphasize sex-worker’s agency and use a broader, Foucauldian understanding
of power, which couples power with resistance. Further, this paper examines other elements of the sex industry that
contribute to unsafe sex such as competition between women for clients and violence in the industry. Finally, this paper
suggests that HIV-prevention programs take cognizance that power negotiations between men and women cannot be
simplistically understood as men having power and women being powerless. Rather, this article contributes to a
growing body of literature in medical anthropology, which elucidates the complexities of sexual negotiations between
men and women. This focus on agency is important in trying to lessen the stigma and discrimination that sex-workers
face at the hands of clients, pimps/managers, police and health care workers. # 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights
reserved.

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