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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The symbolism and dynamics of condom use among commercial sex workers in Durban, South Africa
Authors:Varga, C.A.
Blose, F.N.
Periodical:African Anthropology (ISSN 1024-0969)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:family planning
Health and Nutrition
Labor and Employment
Women's Issues
Health, Nutrition, and Medicine
Family Planning and Contraception
Abstract:This paper examines the sociobehavioural determinants of condom use among commercial sex workers in Durban, South Africa, and explores the symbolism of and dynamics behind condom use by commercial sex workers in both professional and domestic settings. Data were collected using in-depth interviews (45), semistructured questionnaires (100), focus groups (2) and participant observation among commercial sex workers in Durban's red light district and in an industrialized working class suburb some 15 kilometres from the city centre. The majority of the women were black African Zulu or Xhosa speakers, and all worked independently, either on the street, or in bars or nightclubs. Several themes emerge in the women's use of condoms and the role of condoms in their sex lives: condom use with clients (paying partners) is appropriate and protected sex while on the job is preferable; condom use with personal/domestic partners is strictly avoided and discouraged by both commercial sex workers themselves and their boyfriends; condoms are symbolic of filth, spread of disease (AIDS and sexually transmitted disease), infidelity, lack of trust, impersonal sex and promiscuity; and despite high AIDS awareness, recognition of commercial sex work's high risk status, and knowledge of domestic partners' multiple sexual relationships, commercial sex workers resist condoms in their personal sex lives. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.