SCDI Center for Community Development Initiatives




People living with HIV/AIDS

Harm reduction intervention for female sex workers in service establishments

Sept. 21, 2018

On the evening of April 12th, 2017, at the People's Committee of District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), a seminar on implementation of the model "Support and harm reduction for female sex workers (FSW) at the service establishments" in District 1 and Ho Chi Minh City. The seminar was organized by HCMC Department of Social Vices Prevention, SCDI and People's Committee of District 1.

Attending the workshop were all related departments such as HCMC Department of Health. HCMC and District 1, HCMC AIDS Center, HCMC Labor Confederation, Women's Union of Pham Ngu Lao Ward and District 1, HCMC Department of Justice, Police office of District 1 and HCMC, People's Committee of Pham Ngu Lao Ward and District 1, HCMC Department of Preventive Medicine, Board of Directors of Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI) and other departments. In addition, the workshop was attended by Binh Minh Dem and Hoa Cat Tuong, two community groups who conducted the survey in the past.


Photo: Dr. Nguyen Hoai Huong - Deputy Director of SCDI presenting the results of initial survey at 52/112 service establishments in Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1.The presentation highlighted the issues and needs from service establishments and women workers.



The model is expected to be piloted in Pham Ngu Lao Ward (District 1), in the two main streets of Bui Vien and Pham Ngu Lao. Based on the initial survey conducted by community groups at 52/112 service establisments, SCDI recognized the urgency of its implementation in this area.

Only about 10% of female sex workers in the area use condom when receiving guests and the number of monthly and quarterly health checks is extremely low. Hence, health and public health issues are always a matter of concern.


Photo: Vice Chairman of Pham Ngu Lao People's Committee shared the characteristics and situation of management of service establishments in the area. He also shared the sincere wishes and support from the People's Committee in supporting and intervening harm reduction for FSW in the area, especially towards a friendly working style, avoiding stigma against employees as well as business establishments for more effective and longer-term interventions.








In the new situation, SCDI launched this model and received consensus and enthusiastic support from all relevant stakeholders.

At the meeting, the Department of Health, Women's Union and HCMC HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control shared many valuable experiences and willingness to cooperate in providing health care, training classes for female sex workers in the area.

The model has also received the support of the leaders of the People's Committee and Police of Pham Ngu Lao Ward in order to have more effective management of the area, especially towards friendly working manner, avoiding stigma against the workers as well as business establishments to have more effective, longer-term interventions.



Photo: Attendants of the seminar

With many years of experience working in this field, with a broad and enthusiastic community network and with a sense of social change in the current situation, SCDI wishes to implement this model in the form of Community Outreach and Behavior Change Communication (implemented by self-help groups that support sex workers), providing periodic health examinations, legal knowledge, available legal and social support.

In addition, SCDI wishes to expand the model with other content such as harm reduction when using drugs (narcotic drugs, synthetic drugs) and sexual violence prevention.


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