Indian J Sex Transm Dis Indian J Sex Transm Dis
Official Publication of the Indian Association for the Study of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Indian J Sex Transm Dis
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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2007  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 69-75

Prostitution in India and its role in the spread of HIV infection


Department of Dermatology and STD, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Pondicherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Devinder Mohan Thappa
Department of Dermatology and STD, JIPMER, Pondicherry - 605 006
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0253-7184.39007

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Prostitution describes sexual intercourse in exchange for remuneration. The legal status of prostitution varies in different countries, from punishable by death to complete legality. The great degree of social stigma associated with prostitution, of both buyers and sellers, has lead to terminology such as 'commercial sex trade', 'commercial sex worker' (CSW), female sex worker (FSW) or sex trade worker. Organisers of prostitution are typically known as pimps (if male) and madams (if female). Brothels are establishments specifically dedicated to prostitution, often confined to special red-light districts in big cities. The devadasi (handmaiden of god) system of dedicating unmarried young girls to gods in Hindu temples, which often made them objects of sexual pleasure of temple priests and pilgrims, was an established custom in India by 300 AD. An estimated 85% of all prostitutes in Calcutta and Delhi enter the sex work at an early age. The causes of prostitution include ill treatment by parents, bad company, family prostitutes, social customs, inability to arrange marriage, lack of sex education, media, prior incest and rape, early marriage and desertion, lack of recreational facilities, ignorance, and acceptance of prostitution. Truck drivers engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse with multiple partners in rural India could be major vectors of HIV transmission. The commercial sex industry is a multibillion dollar Indian and global market which now includes strip clubs, massage brothels, phone sex, adult and child pornography, street brothel, and escort prostitution. So long as men want to buy sex, prostitution is assumed to be inevitable.


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