Funding: NIDA R21 DA026324
his collaborative study investigates the sociocultural contexts of HIV risk behaviors and drug use among Thai female and male-to-female transgender (kathoey) sex workers in Bangkok. A recent study reported high HIV sero-prevalence rates among kathoey, particularly those who had engaged in sex work (17%). Despite the high HIV/STI sero-prevalence rates and HIV risk behaviors among female and kathoey sex workers in Thailand, very few studies have investigated the sociocultural factors in relation to their HIV risk behaviors, such as their work venues and environment, fatalism, economic pressure to survive and send money to their families, and coping mechanisms to avoid HIV/STI infection and violence from customers. This research addresses these issues and will be used to develop theoretical HIV prevention models which include the sociocultural factors specific to female and kathoey sex workers in order to curb future HIV/STIs.