Floating prostitution and the potential risk of HIV transmission in a religious society in Indonesia

Hardisman Dasman, Firda Firdawati, Ilma Nuria Sulrieni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Indonesia known as the most populous Moslem country in the world, where Padang Municipality, the capital city of West Sumatera Province is recognized as one of the most religious societies in the country. The law strictly prohibits prostitution and adultery, which is supported by all religious communities. However, the Province HIV/AIDS Prevention Commission recorded that there has been a substantial number of femle sex workers (FSWs) in the city. At the same time, the number of HIV/AIDS cases also significantly increased. This study aims to explore existence of prostitution practice and the risk of HIV transmission. Method: A qualitative study has been conducted to answer the research question by interviewing 31 women sex workers using grounded theory approach and as well as two health workers and three HIV/AIDS prevention commissioners. The data was analyzed using thematic framework analysis. Result: The poverty is the main reason of FSWs falling into prostitution practice, adding by lack social support from their family and relatives, weak personality and environment influence. Majority of them (58,1%) have low level of education and little knowledge of HIV/AIDS, in which they perceive that they are safe from getting infected when they see the client is physically healthy. Additionally, due to their economic dependant on their sexual transaction, they have low bargaining power to their clients, which leads to unprotected sex. Conclusion: Economic factor and lack of social control contribute to prostitution practice in Padang Municipality. The sexual contact is mostly unprotected, which becomes a potential risk of HIV transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-338
Number of pages5
JournalIndian journal of public health research & development.
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Poverty
  • Prostitution


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